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Where teachers sell eggs, work as loaders

Many poorly paid government schoolteachers in Indore sell eggs, vegetables and work as loaders or electricians after school hours to make ends meet.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2010 11:10 IST
Padma Shastri

Many poorly paid government schoolteachers in Indore sell eggs, vegetables and work as loaders or electricians after school hours to make ends meet.

Most of the teachers, regularised way back in 2001 but yet to get salaries accruing to permanent teachers, are forced to double up as petty traders or worse even doing menial jobs as they are paid less than half of what they ought to be getting.

Kamal Chauhan, 37, sells eggs and ‘banjos’ (buns with fried egg or omlette inside it) outside government district hospital at Dhar Road after 6 pm.

An arts graduate and diploma holder in education, Kamal, turned to his previous business of selling eggs before he acquired a teaching diploma. “I became a teacher in 1990 to earn a more respectable living. My school salary is Rs 7,115 and I earn an equal amount from selling eggs. “I will stop selling eggs, if the government pays me at par with permanent teachers who get Rs 20,000 and above every month.”

Chauhan teaches at Government primary school at Mayakhedi in Indore and is the sole bread winner in a family of 11, including his widowed sister and her two children. Chauhan is among more than 2,000 associate teachers in Indore district whose services was regularised in 2001.

Ambaram Barde, 37, who teaches at a government middle school loads goods on trucks at Loha Mandi after 7 pm for 20 days a month. He draws a monthly salary of Rs 6,615 from his school and earns upto Rs 4,500 a month doing menial labour. Do his students know that he works as a loader? “No. I will feel ashamed the day they come to know. But I have no choice, as the salary is insufficient for my family’s survival,” he said.

But why don’t lowly paid government schoolteachers quit?

Said Madhya Pradesh Rajya Adhyapak Sangh president Murlidhar Patidar, “A large number of teachers do that. But the question is whether government wants to run schools? If not, where will the poor children study? If yes, the teachers should be well-paid.”

When contacted, school education minister Archana Chitnis said that department is working sincerely over a number of aspects and improving salary structure is one of them. “We’re also focusing on teachers’ training and students’ vocational training to improve standard of education.”