This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sumit. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Hum Haar Jaate Hain Andar Se”: Plight Of Private School Teachers In The Pandemic

More from Sumit

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

Yesterday, one of my relatives came to my home. He is a government teacher. I asked him about his salary. Before the pandemic, he always received his salary very late. He said that amidst the pandemic, his salary comes on time just after the end of the month. He is very happy. He has not had any problems related to finance. On the other side of my family, some of my relatives taught in private schools and their financial conditions are not well. They earn only enough to survive. A survey shows that 220 teachers in Hyderabad have lost 100% of their life savings. They spent all their saving for survival.

Representational Image. The pandemic has adversely affected teachers due to a lack of funds and apathy of school owners.

A Lack Of Support From Schools

A private teacher in my neighborhood got around 8000 per month salary before the pandemic. Amidst the pandemic, he hasn’t got any type of help to survive with his family. The pandemic led him to a very bad situation. I converse with his son. His son said that the school in which his father taught is a high-cost private school. The school has its own very big building. He mentioned, “school ka maalik bahut aamir hai, fir bhi madad nhi krta hai”(the owner of this school is very rich but he doesn’t help us).

This led them to a very painful condition. He also mentioned that he also taught in a low-cost private school but amidst the pandemic, the school has closed. He doesn’t even have the little income he was earning before the pandemic

Low-cost private schools are those that help students who are preparing for competitive exams. They have little earning from this. From this, the student’s family doesn’t have any pressure or any extra burden to provide them with education. Their family has relief. They don’t have any pressure to support these students through money.

When we talk about low-cost private schools; they are not able to help their teachers. But can we expect this help from high-cost private schools or say big building schools to their teachers? In order of getting some views about this, I met a teacher who is in a high-cost private school in my town named Barbigha, in Bihar.

So, firstly he hesitates to talk about their struggles amid this pandemic. He started to talk in a very low tone and appreciated the school. He said that he doesn’t want to destroy the reputation of my school. He added, “Everything is not well here just because the government hasn’t taken any responsibility yet. I don’t have any demands but the school should be smoothly running. They have very sharp-minded people. They don’t think about us but they should”.

He also mentioned, “ I got 9000 rupees as my salary before pandemic but now I get half of this. I take my classes online. Earlier, I taught up to 7th standard but now they give me 1st or 2nd standard children to teach to. I also have standards. But in order to earn, I have to follow their rules. Even guardians haven’t talked to us gently. I have a little bit of fear but I have to accept the salary they give me. I don’t have any other option”.

This is not just about his narrative. From this, he tells us about what the whole private school teacher community is facing. He added, “hum haar jaate hain andar se, manobal tut jaata hai, fir bhi ander se himmat aata hai pariwaar ko dekh kar, bilkul dhyan nhi diya hai school hum par” (We feel like we have lost, our morale breaks but we get strength from our families. The schools have not paid any attention to us). He continued talking about his problems and then said whatever I say is less. He brings up the point of technical issues which he faces. If he says that his technical knowledge is not so good, the school will consider him to be weaker.

Representational Image. Digital teaching has been a challenge for many teachers.

The Pandemic And Female Teachers

Because of lockdown, what female teachers face is worrying. There is so much gender gap in our society as well as in academics. And now, there is no job security. A survey from 2018-19 found that the ratio of female and male teachers is 73:100. Some days back when I was in Delhi, I tried to talk to some female teachers through one of my friends. Firstly, they are independent. They are decision-makers of their own, but now they are dependent on their family. They lost their individual freedom and financial autonomy. Their working hours also increased with household chores.

A female teacher who previously taught in a high-cost private school in my town got 4500 per month salary in their account. Now she doesn’t have any earning. In the pandemic, she taught online classes and got around 1000-2000 rupees per month. But now her cell phone needs repair and she doesn’t have the money for it. She has two children and she said that whatever she did, she did just for them. She is 23-years-old and the financial burden became important for her. Her family goes well somehow because of her husband’s salary, 5000 rupees per month.

I asked about their problems and she misunderstood it and said that yeah I can receive any type of help. She said, “aap mere Whatsapp se jud jaiye, hum aapko apna biodata bhi dikha sakte hain aur pura details bhi share kar sakte hain” (You can connect to me through WhatsApp. I will share my Bio-Data with you). From this, you can understand that how worried she is to get a job.

What can they do so that things become better? These private school teachers demand that schools should be open with certain terms and conditions. The whole private teacher community in my town made a group. They decided to talk to the DM (District Magistrate) of Sheikhpura. They marched to the DM office. After the meeting with DM, things were the same as before meeting her. One of the teachers said, “DM kah rahe hain corona sirf aap sab ke liye thode hi hai, poora desh pareshaan hai”(DM said that corona is not only for you. The whole country is in trouble).

The News Minute, a Bangalore-based news website reports about private teachers who recently turned into daily wage laborers in Telangana. Many of them are provided free ration by the government. Some of the teachers in my hometown started home tuition. Some are going to the houses of children to teach them. Although the situation of female teachers is not very because they can’t go to anyone’s house.

There are several instances where teachers were sitting under the tree or on top of the tree to just teach students in states like Bengal and Maharashtra. Teachers went beyond their limits to provide the knowledge. More than 60,000 teachers in Maharashtra and 40,000 teachers in Karnataka lost their job. Teachers are also suffering from mental health problems. There are series of frustration in their mind exist and the administration doesn’t do much more. Is there anything they can do? Does vaccination solve the problem? These teachers are front-line workers, aren’t they? What do you think?

You must be to comment.
  1. Ravindra Kumawat

    Hey Sumit, It’s totally right that the private sector teachers are facing lot of problems whether these are financial or mental. I think we shouldn’t be hopeless. These won’t be forever. Soon we’ll overcome this pandemic.

    1. Sumit

      Hi Ravindra, the last thing we have, is hope. We all are waiting for better days.

More from Sumit

Similar Posts

By Anushka Khatua

By Mir Tajamul Islam

By India Development Review (IDR)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below