Here's why Tamil Nadu's teachers hate Class 10 & 12 evaluations: Terrible toilets, no food and a princely pay of ten bucks for every paper they correct

As the Class 12 results are set to be released, here's what your teachers went through to get the job done - Travelling long distances in the heat, terrible pay, no allowances and terrible toilets
Teachers at work | Representative image
Teachers at work | Representative image

It's not a school day, but the alarm goes off anyway. I have to wake up to a long day of paper evaluations, after all. Stressful much, you ask? 
Not really. Not the evaluation part anyway. It's the travel and the dingy rooms that make the process so tiresome. 
More often than not, the evaluation centre is located in a distant area because we are assigned areas randomly without taking into account where we live or where the school is located. Two bus rides, a share-auto ride and I have to walk for ten minutes to get there. 
Even though the 'correction' starts at 9, I try to be there at 8.30 so we can get our bundles and then it is four hours of non-stop corrections, paper after paper, with no breaks, correction-totalling till the lunch break. 
Then the correction resumes. A target of 60 papers is a must for all the teachers, so we try not to care about the terribly slow fan or that we have to wait for the water can to be changed on the filter. 
We just tick, tick, tick...Almost like the clock. 
Speaking about the clock, it's now past 4 pm. Finally. 
At 4.30 pm it's time to wind up and we have to make the whole trek back home. 

All this for six rupees a paper. Six rupees. But we do it for our students.

Every year, the post-examination season affects two sections of people directly — teachers and students. While the end of the season generally spells 'vacation' for the students, high school teachers, especially those from government schools, only have days of drudging paper evaluation to look forward to.

Actual Pay-dirt

All in a day's work, you think? At the measly prices that the TN government's education department pays teachers, it's something of a curse when you get slotted for 'evaluation' duty during the summer. In case you're wondering, teachers who evaluate tenth standard papers get paid Rs 360 per day and those who evaluate twelfth standard public exam papers make a slightly more respectable Rs 600 per day. 

Over the years, officials at the Directorate of Government Examinations, which manages the whole shindig, have not taken into consideration where a teacher resides while deciding which centre they have to do their evaluations at. "We have thought of making this a criterion but for us, the larger issue is that the evaluation is done in a fair and transparent manner," said an official with the DGE.



Going the distance isn't just an expression here

Most of these evaluation centres are far-flung, forcing the teachers to travel miles to get to their centres, "I have a two-wheeler, so I manage. But I have colleagues who don't have vehicles and have to depend on public transport. Since these centres are not even near bus stops or train stations, the teachers either have to walk or take an auto that will cost them at least 100 rupees," a teacher explained. 

Besides the pittance of six rupees/paper, teachers receive no other remuneration, neither for travel nor for food. "Even college lecturers get a Rs 200 as daily allowance but we get nothing. For the 60 papers that we correct we get Rs 360 and half that money goes off in travel," said P K Illamaran, JACTTA coordinator. In all, the teachers make about Rs 3600 for ten days of evaluation duty. 

If you thought that a pay scale of six rupees/paper is bad, one must note that this has been the case only for the last two years. Prior to that, the teachers were initially paid only Rs 2 per paper which then went up to three and then four and now finally, six!

Mouthing concerns

There is no provision made for the teacher's lunch either, "The teachers have to bring along their lunch and any other items they might need. No provisions are available at the venue," he added.

But having to bring their lunch along is the least of their problems, some of these teachers complained that they don't even have basic facilities like drinking water or decent toilets, "We have to sit there for hours together but we won't even have a clean restroom to go to, how can the authorities think that that is okay? At least they should make arrangements for toilets especially since we come from so far away," said another teacher.

Even if some of them are quicker with their correction, staying at the centre till sundown is mandatory, "We can finish the correction fast because we're given the keys but the totaling of the marks and re- calculating again takes time and we have to ensure we don't make any mistakes. So if they pay us a little better we would be happier and do our work with a little more ease," said another teacher.

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