Monday, May 25, 2020

Covid 19: A Teacher's Perspective - Ajay Vijayvargi

 After going through various layouts in the package of 20 lac crores to deal with the extraordinary situation by the pandemic in India by the government, where most affected sectors of society –labourers, farmers, industries, infrastructure banking and many more are covered, it is clear that the Indian government is trying to benefit everyone. This move is welcome and was much needed to fight. As per the surveys, the amount of the package is about 10% of the GDP of the country thereby making some compromises even in the defence sector (reduction in budget outlay) for next financial year. A lot many relaxations in all sectors like less deduction of EPF from salaries, a moratorium in EMI`s. Everything is fine, it's the government's responsibility, full marks for it as under the present situation whatever best was possible is being done.
However, the question nobody asked and neither answered, is nothing is thought over the working of private schools big or small as due to sudden lockdown from mid-March when the session was going to end and fees were not collected completely, the schools somehow managed to pay the salaries for the month of March but schools started facing a severe crisis – financial crunch. The reason is simple students not coming to school, parents finding it difficult to pay the fees due to delay in the salaries, uncertainty in the job and future liabilities etc and are asking for a waiver of school fees for one quarter i.e from April to June.
The government has not given a clear verdict over this, which affected lacs of private school teachers unpaid, how will they run their family expenditures and pay fees of their ward and a lot more. The government has paid attention to the needs of the present hour but nobody thought about investing in the future, as `School Fees are to be considered as a future investment and not expenditure`.
The only insight required is a provision in the financial package for private schools as soft loans for a year or so that when situation normalises and fees are recovered by schools these loan amounts would be repaid, this financial assistance to school will give liquidity to schools to pay salaries to the teachers regularly during this difficult times so that teachers also can run their families and meet unforeseen expenses like sickness etc in their families.
The teaching profession is most unrated as the teachers are underpaid but they are shaping the future generation and an important part of the society too.
Ajay Vijayvargi, The Fabindia School

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