While many people working in the private sector have been deprived of salary ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24, the condition of many teachers and administrative staffers working in private school is no different.

More than 57 per cent of them have not even received three months’ salary.

Less than five per cent of 200,000 teachers and staffers of private schools have been regularly receiving their salaries.

If we go by the number, a whopping 114,000 school teachers and staffer have not been paid for at least six months.

Above 90 per cent of them received only half of their salary in the first three months of the lockdown.

Institutional School Teachers’ Union, an umbrella organisation of teachers working in over 8,050 private schools in the country, have also accused such schools of forcibly removing thousands of teachers from their jobs.

Mostly teachers looking after extracurricular activities such as, art, music, dance and sports have lost their jobs.

ISTU has declared a series of protest programmes in a bid to exert pressure on private school owners demanding at least partial payment for such teachers.

Hom Kumar Thapa, president of ISTU, said that it was inhuman behaviour on the part of school operators to turn a deaf ear to the demands of teachers.

“School operators or the government should take concrete steps to support us, or the whole education system might crumble if a large number of teachers start quitting their profession.”

Tikaram Puri, president of Private and Boarding Schools Association of Nepal, said it was the fault of the government since it urged guardians not to pay fees although the guardians were willing to pay for online classes conducted by private schools.

Puri further said there might be a very few schools that reaped a lot of profit but majority of private schools had very limited income.

“After the lockdown, many schools were not in a condition to bear the financial burden of their teachers and staffers so they had to lay off teachers and staffers. Schools can pay teachers only after the situation becomes normal,” he added.

About the pending salary of teachers, Puri said they had already circulated information to all schools asking them to pay the due amount pronto. Meanwhile ISTU has given a seven-day ultimatum to schools to pay the pending salaries of three months before the lockdown.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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