THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state government has decided to protect school teachers working in the unaided sector during lockdown by asking the managements to provide salary without fail, over a thousand guest teachers working in the higher secondary sector of government and aided schools for daily wages are at the receiving end.
They have been left jobless from March 1 as their annual contract ended by February. The guest lecturers are appointed in the schools where there is an insufficient number of teachers due to transfers and long leave. The appointments are usually made from June and end in February, ensuring that they cover the syllabus. The junior and senior guest teachers working on a daily wage basis are receiving maximum sum of Rs 1,195 and Rs 1,425 respectively.
In a month, each teacher is told to conduct 60 hours of classes so that they can earn at least Rs 25,000 on a monthly basis. Despite the fact that they are daily wage employees, the government gives salary as a consolidated pay after completing a month. However, their condition is pathetic since the lockdown was imposed. Hence, the guest teachers’ union urged the government to include them also in the beneficiary list of those eligible for receiving wages.
"I have no income since March and I can't even scout for other jobs due to the lockdown. I used to take tuition for children in the locality. Now, it has also been stopped due to lockdown protocol. Normally, we get a low pay when compared to permanent teachers. Now, our situation is pathetic," said Biju Kumar P, a guest teacher who worked in an aided school in the capital.
According to office-bearers of Kerala Guest Teachers’ Union (KGTU), a majority of teachers used to make their ends meet by taking tuitions and engaging in other part-time professions in the months of March, April and May. "In addition, the guest teachers have not been getting their full benefits in the last two years due to the loss of many working days in the academic calendar following Nipah outbreak, floods and landslide. In fact, guest teachers are the ones who compensate for the dearth of permanent teachers and they work hard. The other thing is that many of them are included in the PSC rank lists too. So, we request the government to grant wages for three months at least so that our lives won't be adversely affected," said P M Moosa, president, KGTU.
Though the teachers’ union has mailed a memorandum to General Education Minister C Raveendranath and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, there has been no response. So, the union has decided to meet the ministers in the coming days to consider their request.