NEW DELHI, SEPT 5: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi went live on Teacher’s Day, connecting with children throughout the country with the aid of television screens, a sizeable section of teachers from several States stood out in the rain in the Capital, protesting against the pittance paid to them as salaries.
Hundreds of male, female ‘day-time’ teachers and support staff of the over 3,500 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas -- the backbone of the Government’s flagship Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan -- held a dharna at Jantar Mantar protesting the lowering of the honorarium from Rs. 7,200/month to Rs. 5,000/month. The teachers claimed they were ‘day-time’ teachers but were being categorised as ‘part-time’ for the purpose of salaries, and sought clarity in the definitions of various categories of KGBV teachers.
“This is the first time in Independent India that salaries have actually come down,” said the All India Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Employees Association, which submitted a memorandum to the Human Resource Development Minister, seeking a review of the decision taken by the UPA Government and being implemented by the Modi Government.
The support staff, such as accountants, guards, peons and cooks, also get a pittance. “I cook and feed 300 children every day. I stay in the school, away from my own family and miss my children the most. I get only get Rs. 4,600/month. Is this fair? said a female cook from a school in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district.
The association is also demanding regularisation of jobs as many among them, who work in difficult terrain and interiors, such as J&K and North East, were employed on temporary basis and were being paid as low as Rs. 1,500/month.
The scheme began in 2004 and entails setting up residential schools at upper primary level for girls belonging mainly to Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Other backward Classes and minority communities and has been a driver in raising the level of literacy among girls.