Over 300 German teachers associated with Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV) have been asked by principals not to attend school from the new academic session which began in April. While some schools maintained that they had received “no instructions from the KV headquarters” on the teachers’ future, the teachers themselves were a worried lot, convinced they had lost their jobs.
“The principal of my school called me up on April 2, the day the new session began, and told me that I was not to go to school till further orders were received from the headquarters,” says a teacher of a KV in West Delhi. She has been teaching the language for the last 12 years and has had as many as 180 students (classes 6 to 10) taking up the language course last year.
Referring to the December court order, (Last year, a Supreme Court bench asked the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to ensure that students, who want to pursue German or any other language as optional subjects, be provided with all facilities in KV schools across the country) she says that she should at least be allowed to hold hobby classes in the language. “Three classes per week are supposed to be allocated to students taking up German as an additional language. Since October last year, schools did not even slot the language in the timetable and we were forced to request art and craft and games teachers to give up their classes to enable us to teach the language. And now we are forced to sit at home,” she says.
There’s no clarity on whether classes for the additional subject will continue or not and the teachers say they have been asked to stay at home from the first day of the new academic year.
A principal of a KV in Meerut confirms that German classes have been discontinued till further orders from headquarters. “Until then no German classes will be held in the new session,” she says.
KV sources said it was too early to comment on the issue as the academic session had just begun. All KVs would now assess the likely number of students applying for German language as a hobby class this year and the process would take time.
Criticising authorities for not sending clear instructions to schools even when they knew when the session would begin, another KV teacher asked “Why are we made to suffer? As it is we are treated as daily wage workers and our salaries are deducted when we take leave.” Most of the teachers affected are working on an ad hoc basis and their salaries come from the Vidyalaya Vikas Nidhi (fund) where all KV fees are collected. Such teachers earn around Rs. 26,000 compared to non-contractual staff whose salaries start at Rs. 35,000.
Students who want to study German do not know what they’re supposed to do. A Class 10 student, who has been taking German classes since Class 6, says “What’s sad is that we were never informed that additional classes will not be held. We knew something was happening because our teacher stopped coming to school from the beginning of this academic year.”
A fortnight ago, a group of German teachers under the umbrella of InDaF or Indo-German Teachers Association had met Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, requesting his intervention in the matter. “At present we have a situation where only private schools are teaching German and students in government schools are deprived of opportunities in the job market that foreign languages offer,” said an InDaF statement.