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Living societies do not treat teachers like this!

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By: Mansoor Malik

Teaching is one of the most respectful and valuable professions in the world. In Islam, this profession has more importance as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) introduced himself as a teacher. Allah says in the Holy Quran “We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, rehearsing to you Our verses, and purifying you, and instructing you in scripture and wisdom, and in new knowledge” (Quran, 2:  151 ). We can also understand the highest rank of teachers from the Quote of Hazrat Ali (RA) in which He (RA) stated that: “If a person teaches me one single word, he has made me his servant for a lifetime’’.

Unfortunately, in this part of world, teachers are regarded as mere 0abourers and their rights are being fiddled with badly. The so called educational institutions which give us lessons on human value and human respect are themselves exploiting the teachers when it comes to valuing their contributions and paying them due salaries.

There are around 53,000 private teachers and other staff working in around 3000 private schools in Kashmir division. Without any job security, the teachers hired by private schools are usually paid less what government pays daily-wagers in the education department. The average salary of private school teacher is around Rs 5000 per month, while their counterparts in government sector receive on an average Rs 40,000 salary a month. Only less than two percent of schools pay Rs 20000 or Rs 30000 to a private school teacher. Also, the student teacher ratio in private schools is more than government schools.  They, thus, handle excess work load compared to government teachers and are always demanded higher proficiency in terms of results.

In return not only are they paid less salaries, majority of the private school teachers are always kept unsure of their future creating mental pressure for them. In some cases it has come to fore that the teachers are often hired in March and fired in October to avoid giving them salaries for winter months.

This is unfortunate that the private school teachers are treated as mere servants by the school owners and administrations and no value is attached to their degrees. Due to less opportunities of employment in Kashmir, the educated-unemployed youth in Kashmir opt for such low salary jobs and often facing depression, discrimination and social neglect. We have seen many cases wherein private school teachers aren’t paid salaries, whatever meagre has been fixed, for months together. Also, if a private school teacher has to run a family, which ofcourse many have to, the salaries are never enough and they end up taking huge credits!

There must be some intervention in this matter and a society that is alive and thriving never treates its teachers in such a manner. The local administrative units, the government as well as the owners of these private schools must realize that these highly qualified youth have put all efforts together to complete their degrees and that these degrees need to be respected. Society must wake up to the plight of hundreds and thousands of such teachers who are silently suffering an onslaught on their integrity, economics and social stature.

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