Hyderabad: Private school teachers are holding Bharosa Yatra across the state in protest against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led government’s “negligence” towards thousands of teachers who have either lost their jobs or were not paid salaries for the last ten months.
According to the teachers’ associations, at least 20 private teachers have committed suicides due to financial distress since the lockdown was imposed.
On Friday, three private teachers -- Wilson from Shadnagar, Mahender from Warangal and Srikanth from Siddipet -- committed suicide as they were struggling to make meets end due to not being paid salaries since January.
The Bharosa Yatra is intended to give some hope to the distressed private teachers, says Sheik Shabbir Ali, president of Telangana Private Teachers Forum (TPTF). Ali, who is leading the protests, told NewsClick that they are holding rallies and protest gatherings in every constituency. “We are also conducting a bhikshatana programme through which the teachers are begging for funds to help their colleagues who are in most need,” he said.
The Yatra, which started on September 25, has been planned to cover all constituencies by October 30.
“Funds collected through bhikshatana are being used to provide basic amenities to poor teachers’ families,” said Ali.
There are 12,088 private schools across 31 districts in the state employing about 2.5 lakh teachers. According to the teachers’ associations, nearly 1.9 lakh private teachers have been laid off during the pandemic and 60% of the teachers have not been paid salaries since January this year.
Demanding unemployment allowance for the teachers who were rendered jobless during the pandemic, the educators’ groups have organised numerous protests across the state. On September 5, private school and college teachers in Telangana observed National Teachers’ Day as ‘Black Day’ by holding protests across all district education offices.
“The government did not even assure any kind of support to the deceased teachers’ families,” said Nirupama Velagaleti, Secretary of TPTF.
“We are considering emerging as a political force by contesting in the upcoming Member of Legislative Council and local body elections so that our grievances can be highlighted,” said Ali.
Reportedly, most of the private schools in the state have recalled only 15% of its staff on an as-needed basis. The remaining teachers were either laid off or were not paid salaries since the pandemic outbreak.
According to news paper reports, since April this year, thousands of private teachers have begun selling fruits, mirchi bajjis (chilli fritters), vegetables, working as construction labourers, agricultural labourers and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) workers among others.