Much has been talked about improving quality of education in community schools for so long. The governments have always claimed what they have done in the past to improve schools and school education. But here is a scenario, which will make one think how quality of education can be improved when teachers are not paid.
It has come to light that more than 150,000 teachers across the country have not been paid their salaries for the past three months. We are facing difficulties to manage our daily lives, as we have not been paid for months, say teachers.
Bandana Pokharel, a secondary level English teacher at Pragati Sikshya Sadan Higher Secondary School in Kopundole, said teachers have not been paid salaries for the last three months due to which their lives have been hugely affected. “If there has been any delay in salary, we should at least have been informed so that we could have looked for some alternative means to manage our house,” she said.
A primary level teacher gets around Rs 17,000, lower secondary level teacher is paid around Rs 18,000 and a secondary level teacher’s salary is around Rs 24,000 a month.
Usually the government releases budget for teachers’ salary on quarterly basis. Sometimes the first quarterly budget goes to schools through the Department of Education in Shrawan (mid-July), the first month of new fiscal year. The second quarterly budget goes to schools in Mangshir (mid- November) and the third quarterly budget goes in Chaitra (mid-March). According to Suresh Ghimire, president of Educational Coordination Centre, a network of school principals of Lalitpur district, said that the government used to delay in sending quarterly budges in the past too, but this was the first time that it has been delayed by three months.
“The teachers have not stopped coming to schools. Nor have they halted academic activities, but the impact of working without salary is taking a toll on them,” said Ghimire who is also the principal of Pragati School, adding, in such environment quality of education obviously gets affected.
Bijaya Baniya, principal, Phulchoki Higher Secondary School, Thaiba, said if the government continues to delay the salary, it could affect the upcoming SLC exam and district level exam of Grade VIII.
“We have already drawn the government’s attention to this problem, but no action has been taken so far,” said Baniya. “What is the government waiting for… teachers to take to the streets?,” he wondered.
When asked, Dilli Ram Rimal, Director General, Department of Education, claimed that the budget for teachers’ salary was released a few days ago. But Shiva Kumar Sapkota, Lalitpur District Education Officer, said his office had not received any information about DoE releasing the budget. “When I talked to DoE officials this morning, they said that they were preparing to release the second quarterly budget,” he said, adding, “I have not received any information today also.”