Kathmandu: A secondary teacher at one of the schools based in Kathmandu now doesn’t want to continue her profession. The only reason behind it is, she is having issues with the salary.
“I haven’t received a full salary from the last six months due to closure of school, but still I have actively fulfilled all the duties through the internet. It’s very hard when you are a breadwinner and can’t get enough money from the job. I am enduring heavy financial crises,” said she requesting anonymity.
According to her, although the school had pledged to provide the remaining 50 percent of the salary within a month of resuming physical classes, they haven’t fulfilled the promise yet. “They say that the school hasn’t been able to collect the fees as still many guardians are reluctant to pay the fees of online classes,” said she.
The recent decision of imposing the prohibitory order has once again pushed the classes to go online, which probably means the school teachers should again continue their job in deducted salary, the teacher lamented.
This is just one representative case that shows how badly the pandemic has impacted the lives of teachers. There are thousands of teachers who are surfing similar situations. As per the data of UNESCO, Over 100 million teachers and school personnel were impacted by the sudden closures of learning institutions worldwide.
There are many guardians who haven’t paid dues for more than one and half years. “This has made it extremely difficult for us to pay the salaries of teachers and other school’s officials and the rent of the school’s building.
Private school teachers of Nepal from all across the country even resorted to protest demanding their salary for the period of closure of schools caused by COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Institutional School Teachers Union (ISTU), about 200,000 teachers and employees of private schools across the country were deprived of their salary.
Akin to teachers, the pandemic has also badly affected the school owners. They haven’t been able to collect the fees and pay the salary of its officials for a long time.
Vishnu Aryal, Principal of Kathmandu based Awareness International Academy considers the academic institutions as one of the most vulnerable groups, and says that the pandemic has created a real disaster in the life of school owners.
Aryal says there are many guardians who haven’t paid dues for more than one and half years. “This has made it extremely difficult for us to pay the salaries of teachers and other school’s officials and the rent of the school’s building. To overcome the situation, we have taken loans and asked the guardians to pay the fees as much as they can. Doing so helped us to collect around 30 percent of the fees, but this method can’t be helpful all the time,” said Aryal.
Dharma Datta Devkota, President of Guardian Association of Nepal portrays two different reasons behind guardians inability to pay the school fees. He said, “The guardians themself are suffering from financial crisis, a lot of guardians haven’t received their salary or lost their jobs due to the pandemic and in such a critical time paying fees of the school can’t be on their priority list.”.
“Some guardians who are capable of paying the fees are reluctant towards it. Guardians with such mentality want their child to get all kinds of facilities but do not want to pay for it, they indifference the efforts of teachers and suffering of schools that emanate during pandemic,” Devkota added. .
According to him, the government could have played a part in supporting those small and financially weak private schools, but unfortunately they haven’t done anything so far. “We even requested the government to provide soft loans for those institutions but till now there hasn’t been any development about it”, said Devkota.
“The situation is getting worse, we could have shut down our school permanently but since we are one of the most socially responsible institutions we can’t do so, thousands of students’ futures depend on us,” said Aryal adding “The government has been indifferent toward us. They ask the schools to pay the teacher’s salary in time but never think about the crisis the schools are going through. It would be very kind if the government would come up with the plans to financially compensate all those schools.”
The guardians themself are suffering from financial crisis, a lot of guardians haven’t received their salary or lost their jobs due to the pandemic and in such a critical time paying fees of the school can’t be on their priority list.”.
Aryal is expecting some sort of financial relief from the government, and on the other hand, there haven’t been any meetings between the private schools and government regarding such compensation.
“Although we are aware of the suffering of private education institutions, we haven’t been able to hold any meetings lately due to the burgeoning health crisis. Once the thing will go well, we will definitely talk with them and try our best to resolve all their problems,” said Deepak Sharma, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
“Earlier we had demanded soft loans, but it hasn’t been addressed yet. Lately, we haven’t proposed any demands to the government because the whole country is once again threatened by the pandemic and the government is involved in controlling it, so it will not be an appropriate time to put forward the demands of private schools in such a critical situation. However, the government has deducted the interest of the current loans for some of the schools,” said Tikaram Puri, President of Private and Boarding Schools’ Organization Nepal.
“Definitely, the private schools are having a harsh time and there must be proper aid from the government to help them recover from those losses. Once the pandemic will come under control, we will surely go to the government with all our demands and expectations,” informed Puri.