S R Dalvi (I) Foundation

Why teachers deserve to get paid well?

First of all, writing this title itself has made me wondered, do teachers actually require a justification to get paid well. Obviously, no! But the reality has made me take up this topic. In our country, teaching is one of the most underpaid jobs. In fact, average salary of a teacher in Maharashtra is 23,219 rupees only. A salary that a 12th standard qualifying person or a graduate earns in his/her initial years of work. Does a Masters qualifying person deserve to get paid the same? Well, this is the reality. Even after having knowledge and skills, teachers have to continue working at a lower pay-scale. I don’t mind other professions getting paid well, but what really demotivates me being a teacher is having it all and still getting underpaid. Few might argue that there are teachers who get paid well. But the count is really low. There are so many of them, who have cleared their NET/ SET exams and still working at a lower pay scale.

There are IT companies giving 20 – 50% hike in salaries, but in India an average teacher’s salary is merely increased by 2,000 – 3,000 rupees per year. Sometimes, the hike is just in few hundreds. We human beings seek growth. Growth at such a lower speed will obviously prove frustrating.

People envy teachers for getting a paid vacation twice a year. In India, mostly its Diwali vacation and summer vacation. Now, there are things that many people don’t know. Even if it’s a vacation, teachers are engaged in some or the other courses during this time. Also, documentation work is done during this period. So, if you think, it’s a fully relaxed kind of a vacation then you’re wrong. Many institutions don’t even pay their teachers during this time. They are appointed on contractual basis that gets terminated before the vacation starts. So, new academic year, new contract and getting paid only for that tenure. This is how it works in some institutions. Few schools and colleges even adjust the vacation salaries by paying less over the year. Obviously, the scenario is different in aided schools and colleges. But there are limited aided institutions. The question here is – “Are majority of the teachers getting paid well?”

Only those who are truly passionate about teaching choose teaching as a career. Many women choose to become a teacher because of the less working hours. So that, they can manage their family life as well. But these days, documentation work has increased. It’s no more just 3-4 hours of teaching and your job is done. If the management has increased work, even the pay has to be increased.

Many teachers also work part-time in some classes or do an extra earning work, managing their present work profile. The prime reason being the unsatisfactory salaries. If the institution wants qualitative work and a fully focused teacher then the pay-scale has to be improved.

Society must understand that these teachers are the ones that are shaping the young minds. Keep a teacher happy by paying well, create a growth atmosphere and you will also see a positive change in the future generation as well. Nevertheless, teachers are right now also giving their best to the students. But the sense of satisfaction is missing. Just imagine, how productive they will be dealing with kids, once they themselves are satisfied in their careers.

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