Out of work, Delhi govt guest teacher stitches PPE kits to make ends meetUpdated: Jun 29, 2020, 05:24 IST
New Delhi: Surender Saini, who worked as a Hindi teacher on contractual basis in a government school in north-west Delhi till May 8, has been stitching Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for the past one month to make ends meet.
The 35-year-old was among many guest teachers working on contractual basis in schools run by the Delhi government. Many like Saini, who were paid on a daily basis, have been forced to look for alternative modes of livelihood after being rendered out of work, as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Schools in the National Capital are shut till July 31, as per the latest Delhi government orders.
Before lockdown, which was put in place on March 25, more than 20,000 guest teachers had been employed in 1,030 government schools across the city and were paid between Rs 1,040 and Rs 1,400 per day. Their contracts are renewed every year.
On May 5, the Delhi government’s education department issued an order stating, “All guest teachers shall be paid up to May 8, 2020, and in summer vacation only if they are called for duties”. This time, however, no guest teacher has been called back for duty as schools are shut amid the pandemic.
Saini, who is differently-abled from his right leg, was working at the Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya (evening) in Nithari Village near Nangloi as a Hindi teacher till May 8. He has a Master’s degree in Hindi as well as a BEd, and has cleared the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET).
“I had to return to my home in Rajasthan’s Neemrana district after we were relieved from work. I had to find some work to feed my family of five. I can’t do physical labour either because of my leg. Finally I got work in a PPE kit factory here” he said.
He now earns Rs 200 to Rs 250 per day. “As a guest teacher I earned Rs 1,400 per day after six hours of duty. Now, I barely make Rs 200-250 even after working for eight hours. I don’t know for how long I will have to do this since the schools are now closed till July 31,” he said.
HT had first reported on June 23 how guest teachers, who were earlier employed in Delhi government schools, were forced to find alternative livelihoods such as selling vegetables and repairing bicycle punctures, after their services were terminated in view of schools being closed.
When contacted, Binay Bhushan, director, Directorate of Education (DoE) said that “the guest teachers will be called back to work when their duties will be required.”
Shoeb Rana, president of the all-India guest teachers’ association, said all guest teachers should be given salaries from July 1.
“As per the Disaster Management Act, the government cannot remove anyone from the job. The government should pay us salaries from July 1 and give us work. The government should also continue employing non CTET teachers till their exam takes place this year,” he said.
The contracts of around 1,000 teachers were not extended after March 31 as they have not cleared the mandatory CTET. The test is generally conducted twice a year and was next scheduled for July 5. However, the CBSE, which conducts the test, announced June 25 the postponement of the test till further orders in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Delhi government’s norms make it mandatory for its teachers to qualify CTET. A senior government official, requesting anonymity, said, “The Delhi government cannot change the norms of hiring teachers. It’s mandatory to clear CTET for teaching jobs in Delhi government schools.”