Teachers on daily wage basis: serving yet suffering
By Abdul Rauf
ISLAMABAD, July 25, 2010: The very concept of ‘Summer Vacation’ fills the sphere of visualization of most of us with a pleasant feeling of enjoyment and relaxation yet there are people who are irked by it – for them it is a period of misery and crisis. The teachers serving on daily wage basis (DWB) in different schools and colleges of the federal capital go through mental torture as they are not paid any salary during these vacations.
“I am working as a ‘Qari’ in a college for the last six years; my salary is less than the class-IV workers serving in the same college. It is already too difficult to make both ends meet within just 5000/- rupees per month that I get. So I have to privately teach few students at their homes, for some extra earning. However, during summer vacation I do not get any salary at all from the college and I have only a few Nazra students as many families go back to their native towns or arrange excursion tours. I usually take loan to spend this time of financial crisis” said Qari Hameed (name changed on request, for fear of losing the job altogether), a DWB teacher in one of the Islamabad Model Colleges.
M. Riaz Gull,(name changed on request, for fear of losing the job altogether)working in Islamabad College for Boys (ICB), stated, “I get 8000 rupees per month and I have to pay 3000 rupees as a rent of the room that I live in. These days I do not get that salary yet I have to pay the rent. Besides, I am unable to send any money to my old parents who live in Swat”
The situation is even more horrifying for those who reside with their families here. Paying utility bills, managing other expenses without getting any salary at all from the job place that they rely on, make a nerve breaking formula especially for the sole bread earners of the family.
Ms Naz (name changed on request, for fear of losing the job altogether),a teacher in a school in G-6, expressed her suffering saying, “Working on daily wage basis, being a single parent of two school going kids is like a nightmare that I have to live in reality. This is a time of financial turmoil and mental agony as I do not get any salary during vacations.”
Muhammad Akbar(name changed on request, for fear of losing the job altogether), a DWB teacher in a govt. college told INFN that he lives with his family here and it’s already difficult to bear the expenses but during the summer vacation the situation is made worse due to non-payment of salary. He said, “My children ask me to take them out but I can just watch them with eyes filled with helplessness and despair.”
There are about 600 teachers working on daily wages basis in the govt. colleges in Islamabad, the number of such teachers working in schools is even higher. When contacted, Director Model colleges, Prof. Sadiq Ali Choudhry said, “The matter is in the court”. But when reminded by this news agency about the fact that the teachers in question have filed a case in the court for making them permanent which is another issue, the said Director refrained from giving a satisfactory answer insisting that “Everything related to the daily wages teachers is ‘sub judice’”.
Why is it so? Do we need teachers for a temporary period? Will we stop teaching our posterity after few years? Certainly not -- we always need teachers to educate our children. Then why such lack of interest and seriousness towards teachers’ problems is shown on part of the authorities. Education has never been a priority for us as a nation throughout our history. But it is time to re-prioritize our priorities, if some real progress is desired.