Sunday, May 28, 2023

Need for higher pay to private teachers

Through your esteemed daily, we request the state government to set up more government colleges in the major districts of Nagaland and to come up with ways and means to increase the salary of teachers in private institutions. The demand for more colleges is currently met by private institutions which are very expensive even for parents with government jobs. Another important reason why we need government colleges is because of the better salary a government job gives to its teachers.
Currently, someone with a masters degree and NET gets about a mere Rs. 22,000 per month in private colleges in Nagaland. Compare this to Rs. 75,000 which is the starting pay for Assistant Professors in Delhi University. For comparison, auto drivers in Dimapur earn about Rs. 25,000-35,000 per month. This is more than the salary of Assistant Professors of private colleges.
A person who earns Rs.75,000 can now take his job as a full time employment and concentrate fully on his teaching. But a teacher working in private sector with a mere 22,000 salary is on a search for a government job and is mostly unable to devote all his mind and energy on his teaching job. So in the process of trying to do justice to his job and to study for a government job, a teacher is most often extremely exhausted or unable to do justice to none.
It is safe to say that at any point of time, more than half of the teaching staffs in private colleges are not happy with their low pay. The managing boards of private colleges need to pay more to its teachers. The colleges need to share its profits more equitably with it’s staffs because right now there is a high sense of being exploited among the teachers.
Right now, it’s hard for an Asst Professor to take pride in his job when his pay is so low that he can’t even take car loan or home loan. As a teacher in private institutions, you are doomed to live in rented house for the rest of your life! With a pay lower than an auto driver, what innovation and inspiring ideas are teachers supposed to bring inside the classrooms? My apologies to auto drivers. This is just to highlight that after doing HSLC, HSSLC, College, masters degree and clearing NET exam, it’s just frustrating to get such a low pay for a difficult mental job.
It is not right for the state to say that setting up a college is expensive. For comparison, there are 77 government colleges in Delhi! But there is just one government college in Dimapur! Development is not just capital infrastructures like bridges and roads. True development must put humans first. Therefore schools and colleges are the main place to start if we want a happy and developed society. And it will not be an exaggeration to say that the private institutions are the backbone of education system in Nagaland. The teaching staffs from private institutions are doing a lot given the high workload and the meagre pay. If paid right, they can do much more.
Therefore we humbly put forward some suggestions: First, open more government schools and colleges in major districts like Dimapur and Kohima. And two, give “salary grants” to teachers from private institutions so that the teachers of private institutions get the same pay as their government counterparts. It is not fair that private institutions have more students and more workload but their teachers get half the pay of government jobs.
The need of the hour is for the colleges and the state government to come up with various ways to provide adequate pay to its private teachers without burdening the students with higher fees. Surely, we are not an incompetent society. If we want we can come up with a solution to give respectable pay to our teachers. It’s not realistic that we want our children to achieve big like Harvard and Oxford graduates but continue to pay their teachers peanuts. Private colleges in Nagaland need to explore similar ways and means by which these top private universities are able to pay high salary to it’s employees. Just because there are no open riots or protests, that does not mean that the status quo is acceptable or livable. Our state will never have high human capital or become a knowledge driven society or a developed society when we pay so less to our teachers. Lip service alone of calling teaching a noble profession will not improve anything. The salary of teachers need to reflect the importance we give to our teachers and the future of our students. Our teachers deserve a respectable standard of life and our students deserve happy, motivated and committed teachers. Until such times, it’s hard to imagine a developed society when the classrooms are guided by poorly paid and economically struggling teachers.
L. Singsit, Dimapur

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