Thousands of teachers previously employed at private schools are now struggling to earn their daily bread following nation-wide school shutdown in March. Many are yet to receive their salaries since February and are forced to look for menial jobs for survival.
Zaheer Ahmed, a Hindi teacher in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, with a B.Ed MA degree was laid off in April. Compelled by a serious cash crunch, he is now employed as a gas cylinder delivery person. In his free time, he works at construction sites as a painter.
The story is no different for P Satyanarayana, a Telegu teacher of classes IV to X in Suryapet. Dwindling savings and no prospects of getting back his mode of income anytime soon have made Stayanarayana work at Mahathma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guaranteed Act (MGNREGA) sites in Nalgonda district.
“We were told we would get full salary for March, but I got only around 25 per cent. I have no money left,” narrated Satyanarayana. Over the months, he has fetched himself a job card and dug village ponds accompanied by other labourers.
“There was some construction work going on at my home. Since I didn’t have any money, I fired the crew and am laying the slabs myself,” he further added.
Another teacher, B Vidya recounts how some colleagues are managing during the lockdown.
“My colleagues have not been so lucky. Some are selling vegetables on the road, others are hunting for whatever work they can find,”
Sheik Shabbir Ali, President, Telangana Private Teacher Forum (TPTF), expresses the perilous condition that has taken place now that school management have made their employees leave.
“Many schools are saying they collect their fee in April. Since the lockdown was imposed, they couldn’t collect it. But where is all the money they made before that,” he asked.