Abysmal Payscales Are Forcing Educators To Leave The Mainstream School System And Work For Coaching Classes
Anahita Mukherji | TNN
Mumbai: Ritika Deshpande (name changed) quit her job last year as the principal of a reputed suburban school as she was fed up with taking home a measly salary of Rs 8,000 a month. “The school management would credit Rs 15,000 to my bank account every month, and then force me to return around half the sum in cash,” she said.
Though illegal, this practice is followed by many private schools and
colleges across the city, so that, on paper at least, they can prove they’re paying teachers according to government payscales. Deshpande, who now works in a coaching class, gets a salary thrice the amount she took home as a principal.
Disillusioned with abysmal payscales, teachers are quitting the
mainstream education system in droves and making a beeline for private tutorials, where payscales can range from Rs 12,000 to Rs 1 lakh a month, unlike the Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 most schoolteachers earn in the city.
A teacher who works at a private college on the outskirts of the city
takes home a salary of Rs 5,000 a month, though her pay cheque mentions Rs 22,000. She supplements her income by teaching at a well-known coaching class. Priti Pandit, who taught in a Kandivli school, now works in a coaching class. Her income, she added, has nearly tripled after leaving the school job.
Coaching class directors are quick to say that it’s not just the money. There is more job satisfaction in the coaching industry, they feel. “In our tutorials, teachers don’t have to correct answer papers or draw up marksheets. Their job is only to teach in the classroom. We hire a separate staff for administrative work and to correct answer papers,” said Narayanan Iyer, executive director of Mahesh Tutorials.
Of the 50,000-odd teachers employed with coaching classes in the city, around 50% have been recruited from schools and colleges, according to Narendra Bhambwani, secretary of the Maharashtra Class Owners’ Association. “The rest of them are freshers who join the coaching industry directly,” said Bhambwani.
Those who opt to teach in the mainstream education system, say they do so out of love for the job and not money, as their monthly income barely covers the rent. Schoolteachers who do not come from wealthy families take tuitions on the side to make ends meet. Ironically, teenage call-centre employees often earn the same as teachers, though the latter may have been in the profession for several years.
Presently, at all schools, except civic primary schools, newly appointed teachers are hired at approximately Rs 3,000 a month on a three-year contract, after which they are made permanent.
Pre-primary teachers also get a raw deal as pre-school education is
unregulated and there are no laws that govern their salaries. One
kindergarten teacher at a private school in Borivali earns Rs 4,000, 25 years after she joined the profession. She handles upto 60 children in a single classroom.
The BMC payscales for all primary teachers in the city range from Rs
10,000 to Rs 16,000, while the state government scales for secondary and higher secondary teachers range from Rs 9,000 to Rs 25,000. While civic and government payscales are applicable to private schools, these institutions are free to pay more than what has been prescribed by the government, but not less.
However, a number of well-known private schools that charge students a hefty fee do not pay their teachers any better than municipal schools. A secondary teacher at a popular south Mumbai ICSE school was receiving a monthly salary of Rs 16,000 even after 15 years of service. Teachers at an IGCSE school in Vashi said they are upset that their salaries range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 a month.
When Arvind Vaidya retired as the principal of Nandadeep High School, Goregaon, in 1988, he was drawing a salary of Rs 800 a month. “I don’t think that teacher salaries have improved significantly over the years. Though teachers are earning more than what they did 20 years ago, this is only a ompensation for inflation,” said Vaidya, who now heads the Private Primary Teaching and Non-teaching Staff Association.
Undergraduate and post-graduate teachers fare better than their counterparts in schools and junior colleges, with senior teachers earning upto Rs 40,000. However, Tapati Mukhopadhyay, general secretary, Bombay University and College Teachers Union, pointed out that while a B-school graduate gets a minimum starting salary of Rs 50,000 a month, a senior management teacher gets a lot less.
BMC payscales are applicable to all primary teachers (classes I to IV) in private, government-aided and municipal schools, including ICSE and IB schools (not CBSE)
BMC, aided school gross salaries: From Rs 10,000 (freshers) to Rs 15,000-16,000 (senior teachers)
Other schools: The BMC payscale is the minimum pay that can be given
SECONDARY SCHOOLS & JUNIOR COLLEGES
State government teacher payscales are applicable to all secondary (V to X) and HSC teachers (XI and XII) in private, government-aided and municipal schools, including ICSE and IB schools
Secondary school gross salaries: Minimum pay is Rs 9,000 (freshers) to Rs 25,000 (senior teachers) Junior college gross salaries: Minimum pay is Rs 9,000 (freshers) to Rs 25,000-26,000 (senior teachers)
COLLEGES AND POST-GRADUATE
University Grants Commission payscales are applicable to all undergraduate and postgraduate faculty in government and private colleges
Gross salary range: From Rs 18,000 (freshers) to Rs 40,000 (senior teachers)
All salaries are the minimum that must be paid by private schools, colleges and universities
A number of private institutions are known to violate the guidelines by making teachers sign for more than they actually get
At all schools, newly appointed teachers get around Rs 3,000 a month for three years before being made permanent
There are no fixed salaries for pre-primary teachers. In a number of schools, senior kindergarten teachers get as little as Rs 4,000 a month
Publication:Times of India Mumbai; Date:Sep 8, 2007; Section:Times City; Page Number:2