Published: 16th June 2022
Why are over 2,000 specialist teachers in Kerala not being paid their complete salary?
While these teachers were to function on a part-time basis, currently they are doing full-time jobs, Das added
Around 2,000 specialist teachers with various schools in Kerala now find themselves in a tight spot financially. The arts (music and drawing), sports and work experience teachers were appointed under Sarva Shiksha Kerala from 2016 on a contract basis. They were appointed to the posts on a salary of Rs 26,200. But since 2018, the salary had been reduced to Rs 14,000.
"That was till two months ago. The April salary gave us a rude shock! Our salary has been reduced to Rs 9,040," said Ratheesh Duth, the Ernakulam district secretary of the Specialist Teachers' Association (STA).
This is happening at a time when a single specialist teacher is given the responsibility of around five schools, in violation of the Union Education Ministry guidelines for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, he pointed out.
According to Das P, a specialist teacher and the president-in-charge of STA, the state government is engaging in double standards.
"When it comes to the question of who appointed the specialist teachers, the state government claims that it is the authority. However, when the question of salary is raised, they reverse the narrative and put the entire responsibility on the central government," Das said.
Ratheesh said, to meet the salary requirements of specialist teachers, the central government puts in a share of 60% while the state has to give 40%.
"Now, though the Centre is still contributing its share, the state has stopped giving its share," he said.
While these teachers were to function on a part-time basis, currently they are doing full-time jobs, Das added.
Ratheesh said the Education Ministry sends in its share of the salary fund for all 12 months every year.
"These teachers received engagements for the whole year only in 2017, 2021 and 2022. In the other years, they were employed for only seven or eight months. But even for those years, the education ministry had sent in its contribution. The state government is mum on what happened to the remaining amount," he said.
The developments have left the specialist teachers in no man's land.
"We are neither being treated as contract staff nor daily wage earners. For a government that proclaims loudly about the need to protect general education, its deeds speak a different language," said Das.
The specialist teachers had approached the High Court seeking recourse and a salary scale similar to of Upper Primary teachers. "The HC directed the state government to arrive at a decision regarding the matter within six months. That was in February. Six months are coming to an end but no decision has been arrived at yet," Ratheesh said.