Friday, 14 August, 2020

Private school teachers resort to street protest


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, July 5: Teachers working at private schools across the country have resorted to protest since last few days demanding their salary for the period of closure of schools caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
Private school teachers associated with Institutional School Teachers Union (ISTU) have started the protest as they are not getting salary for the last four months.
ISTU has submitted a memorandum to authorities of education to draw their attention regarding their problems. Amidst this, on Friday the ISTU demonstrated on streets across the country saying the owners had not taken initiatives to address their problems.
According to ISTU, out of about 200,000 teachers and employees of private schools across the county more than 80 per cent teachers have not got their salary since the lockdown began on March 24.
Bhola Nath Chalise, general secretary of ISTU, said that they were forced to come to street even in pandemic as concerned authorities did not hear their voice. Only after a series of protests by teachers school owners have now become ready to sit for dialogue, he said.
Chalise informed that the dialogue that began from Saturday in between representatives of private schools, guardians and teachers had gone positive. Chalise said that if their demands were not addressed through the dialogue they would organise bigger protests.
Chalise said that the central committee of ISTU had received huge pressure from district committees to go for street demonstration, but they were not organising series of protests due to this pandemic, he added.
Meanwhile, ISTU Chitwan also held demonstration at Chaubishkothi on Friday. The teachers are in demonstration with slogans like ‘we don’t need anyone’s sympathy, we need our right’, ‘we are committed to give quality education’, ‘we pay tax, where are you government?’.
Keshav Raj Pathak, central vice-chairperson of ISTU, said though schools had not shared their profits with teachers in the past, they now wanted to skip their responsibility of paying teachers showing inability to collect fees from guardians.
Though the teachers are in protest, they are likely to remain unpaid for longer as school owners said they were not paying teachers as the government restricted to collect fees from gradients for the period of lockdown.
According to ISTU, about 98 per cent teachers of private schools are not getting their salary from Baisakh (April-March) and only 50 per cent teachers got the salary of Falgun and Chaitra (February, March and April).
Tika Puri, chairperson of Private and Boarding Schools’ Association of Nepal (PABSON), said that most private schools could not pay salary to the teachers in lack of source of income.
“Though some schools are in profit, more than 80 per cent are in vulnerable situation as they had been opened for the purpose of self-employment rather than making a huge profit,” Puri said.  

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