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Poor pay, no job security — what’s haunting 9K-plus contractual teachers in Kendriya Vidyalayas

Contractual teachers make up 20% of KVs’ teaching strength but permanent teachers get paid 1.5-4 times more. Here’s why contractual teachers in India’s KV schools are unhappy.  

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New Delhi: Teachers are considered the pillars of society and builders of the nation. But many of them can be told any day that they are not needed anymore at schools where they have worked for years.

This fate can befall the contractual teachers — 9,161 in total — working in the country’s 1,252 central government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs). According to data shared in Parliament by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), contractual teachers account for 20 per cent of KVs’ total teaching strength of 47,236.

As work goes, they put in as much as their permanent counterparts, but have no job security and often feel they are not valued enough, the teachers whom ThePrint spoke to said.

There’s a wide disparity in the pay scale between contractual and permanent teachers.

Consider this: the salary for a contractual teacher ranges from Rs 21,000 to Rs 28,000 a month (for primary teachers) and Rs 27,000 to Rs 35,000 a month for Class 11 and 12 teachers, according to the KVS website

By comparison, permanent teachers get paid 1.5 to 4 times more  — according to the KVS website, salaries for primary teachers range from Rs 35,400 to Rs. 1.12 lakh per month and from Rs 47,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh for secondary teachers. 

In addition, there’s no job security, meaning those who are not permanent can be sacked without notice — an experience a teacher in Chandigarh went through last year.

“It’s a part of our contract when we join that our term will be either up to the end of the academic session or till a permanent teacher joins,” the teacher told ThePrint. “I went to school thinking it was a regular day, and I was told by the peon that I cannot sign the register because I have been replaced by the permanent teacher. I lost my job overnight and had to think of a new plan in the middle of the academic year.” 

ThePrint has sent a detailed questionnaire to KVS commissioner Nidhi Pandey. This story will be updated when a response is received.

Also Read: ‘Lost job, academic reputation’ — how DU’s recruitment drive left ad hoc teachers in the cold

Poor pay, no training

For most contractual teachers, poor pay is a matter of permanent concern. While salary hikes are a norm for permanent teachers, contractual ones are allegedly forced to remain on the same pay scale.

“We don’t get the perks like the permanent teachers and when there is a revision of salary for permanent teachers, like an increase in the Dearness Allowance, that does not apply to contractual teachers. We keep working on the same salary on which we join, year after year,” said a teacher posted at a Delhi school.

Other problems include lack of pay during school breaks — whether summer or winter — and poor policy of leaves.

“This takes a toll on people who are running a regular household as they have to find a means to earn income during that time,” the Chandigarh teacher told ThePrint. 

Contractual teachers are allowed only one paid leave a month.

Then there’s the lack of training and therefore missing an opportunity to upgrade their skills.

While contractual teachers put in as much work as their permanent counterparts, no attention is paid to their training, a teacher working at a Kendriya Vidyalaya school in Guna, Madhya Pradesh, told ThePrint. 

“We’re not made part of the workshops and teacher training sessions organised by the government. This makes us lose out on the latest curricular developments,” he added. 

Teaching vacancies in KVs

In November, the KVS advertised for over 13,000 permanent teaching and non-teaching posts, including those of school principals and vice principals. 

In a note submitted to the Ministry of Education and accessed by ThePrint, the Sangathan said: “KVS has given an advertisement in November – 2022 for filling up of 13,404 teaching and non-teaching posts in the forthcoming edition dated 3-9 December. 2022. KVS has plans to fill up these vacancies tentatively up to July 2023 after conducting a written test, skill test (wherever applicable), and interview”. 

The advertisement comes after the central government informed Parliament in July that teaching vacancies in Kendriya Vidyalayas doubled between 2019 and 2022. According to the Ministry of Education, vacancies rose to 12,044 by the end of June 2022 from 5,562 in 2019. 

For hundreds of contractual teachers, the advertisement has brought with it the hope of securing permanent positions. And yet, some teachers, especially those teaching subjects such as political science, fear being left out.   

“Kendriya Vidyalayas don’t come up with vacancies for teachers in humanities subjects like political science. So despite teaching for two years, I don’t have a chance to get a permanent job,” said a teacher at a Delhi KV. 

Many, however, believe that their problems have no impact on the quality of their work.  

“Most of the contractual teachers work harder than the permanent ones because they want to keep a good track record with the school in case there is a scope of permanent employment. This has happened with teachers in the past — if their performance has been good, they have been absorbed,” the teacher quoted above added. 

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: Salaries cut, ‘struggling to collect fees’: Private schools are worried as Covid drags on


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