ONGOLE: Within six months, P Veera Narayana, 30, went from being a guest lecturer at a gurukulam school, to having an unsuccessful stint as a radium stickering worker, to becoming an agricultural labourer.
Narayana, an MSc BEd qualified Trained Graduate Teacher (TGT) was the topper of his batch in Krishna University.
After getting a job as a guest lecturer at the AP SC Welfare Gurukulam School in Kurichedu of Prakasam district, his life seemed to be going smoothly and his parents got him married a year ago. But when the lockdown was enforced, educational institutions were shut and his contract as a guest lecturer did not get renewed.
He faced financial difficulties for three months, and searched for even menial jobs. He found work as an assistant in a radium stickering shop and was paid a daily wage of Rs 200. “I was not an expert at the job and my employer asked me to quit after 40 days, saying I work too slowly,” Narayana told TNIE.
‘Several guest lecturers bear brunt of lockdown’
Left with no option, Veera Narayana and his wife Nagajyothi shifted to Yachavaram village of Arthaveedu mandal, to the house of his elderly parents P Ankaiah, 80, and Pichhamma, 75, who survive on their social security pension.“I even had to borrow Rs 5,000 from my aged parents to survive in Kurichedu. I also took another loan of Rs 10,000 for basic needs. But with no job coming my way, I shifted to my native place,” he said.
After spending some time without work, Narayana got a chance to work as a farm hand in the village.
“This is not just my story. The situation of thousands of guest lecturers is the same. There are about 1,700 guest lecturers working in SC Welfare gurukulams and the situation of almost every one of them is the same,” he lamented.
The guest lecturers said that though the government instructed private educational institutions not to withhold salaries of teachers, the government itself is not taking care of those working in government-run gurukulams.
Most of them have been working for more than five years, and have already crossed the government job-recruitment eligibility age limit.
Another guest lecturer Shaik Moulali returned to his native Kallur village in Kurichedu mandal after losing his job as he couldn’t afford his house rent and electricity bill. He now works at a tyre puncture repair shop for Rs 150-200 per day to feed his four-member family.