Teaching in the pandemic

 
August 04, 2020

No sector remained unhurt from the cruel clutches of Covid-19. The other day, I came across a teacher who has been teaching in a private college for the last 20 years. On being asked about his...

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No sector remained unhurt from the cruel clutches of Covid-19. The other day, I came across a teacher who has been teaching in a private college for the last 20 years. On being asked about his salary, he told that for the last four months he has not been receiving salary from his college authorities. That is quite appalling. There are tens of thousands of such teachers working in the private sector, but ever since the eruption of the coronavirus pestilence, they are not being paid. Managing their monthly household budget is a big ask for them. In this era of rising inflation, they run from pillar to post to feed their families. They are left high and dry and have nothing to fall back on. Paying utility bills aside, even making ends meet has become a Herculean undertaking for them. These are those white collar workers who, in the Covid-19 era, find themselves between the devil and the deep sea because they even cannot protest against their school/college owners for fear of losing their jobs. Though there are certain philanthropist-minded and well-off school/college owners who are paying their staff but such cases are few and far between.

It is not that we blame private school/college administration for this chaotic situation; rather, the non-cooperative attitude of the parents whose children are enrolled in private school/college is also a major cause for the miseries of the affected teachers because most of the parents are reluctant to pay fees for their children. Though in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the apex court has ordered private schools/colleges to charge 20 percent less fee from their students, most parents are not submitting the remaining amount. This is an adaptive problem which also needs an adaptive solution. The major shareholders in this adaptive issue include the government, the private schools/colleges administration, their teaching and non-teaching staff and the parents. All stakeholders need to be taken on board to find the workable solution of this enigmatic situation but it will take considerable time to solve this riddle. For the time-being, the onus lies on the government to announce a relief package for private teachers on an emergency basis who are bearing the brunt of the contagion. To this end, first of all the government agencies should collect data of all the teachers serving in the private sector. Then, in consultation with the incumbent private school/college management, find a way out to ameliorate the suffering of the troubled teachers as well as the non-teaching staff. The government has already done enough to reduce the financial impact of the fatal disease on the vulnerable masses, but the economic problems faced by the teaching and non-teaching staff of the private educational institutes failed to reach those at the helm.

Muhammad Fayyaz Nawrha

Mianwali



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