February 1, 2021
TED NewsDesk, Uttrakhand: More than 700 teachers in Uttrakhand Madrassa are working without any payments for the past five years. The financial crisis compelled these BEd holders and Teachers Eligibility Test qualifiers to do petty jobs for their livelihoods.
Previously, the UPA government launched the Scheme for Providing Education in Madrassas (SPQEM) to train these teachers and modernise education. The scheme helps the religious institutions to explore English, Maths, Science, Social Science and other subjects. However, the incoming of NDA government in 2016 gave rise to the financial sufferings of the teachers.
“Now I have lost all hope and have quit the job as there is no point in travelling 30-40 km daily for no monetary return,” said Shabeena Khatoon, a former Hindi teacher at a madrassa who is a B Ed degree holder as well as a post-graduate.
Under the SPQEM, the monthly salary of a post-graduate teacher in Uttrakhand with B Ed degree is Rs 12,000, and that of a B Ed holder graduate is Rs 6000.
“We have cleared our Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) and have B Ed degrees as well. Most of us have done masters in our chosen subjects too. Despite this, those employed in state government schools are getting their salaries on time and their pay is much higher than ours. Even though we are being paid a nominal amount, even that has not been coming to us for the past five years,” said Mohammad Firoz, a post-graduate and a social science teacher at a madrassa in Dehradun.
“The money that I earn while doing an electrician’s job is currently my only source of income. Earlier, the management body of a madrassa used to give its teachers Rs 2000-3000 monthly in the name of conveyance reimbursement but that, too, has stopped since donations have dried up post the Covid-19 lockdown,” added Firoz.
Firoz now works as an electrician to earn a livelihood.
Shabana Khatun, a post-graduate and an Urdu teacher, said, “ We have met several state government officers, ministers and politicians but no one has done anything. Even though our salary was given by the central government but states can also play their part like what happened in Uttar Pradesh during Akhilesh Yadav’s regime. They decided to add Rs 3000 from their state budget to the salaries of the UP madrassa teachers which meant that the teacher’s salary became Rs 15000 per month if they had done post-graduation. But nothing has been done by the Uttarakhand government.”
Even the state government pays no heed to their problems, she added.
The teachers say that “while on one hand, the government speaks of modernising madrassas, on other hand, they are losing teachers appointed for teaching modern subjects due to non-payment of salaries.”
“A lot of people think that the madrassas are meant exclusively for religious studies. However, the reality is that children of all faiths are admitted here and there are a large number of madrassa teachers who are non-Muslims. Apart from one period of Islamic studies, which is not meant for non-Muslim students, all other periods are the same as that of any other orthodox school of the country,” said Mohammad Imtiaz, who was a teacher.
Presently, Imtiaz is a helper in Dehradun based ration shop.
The reports of Uttrakhand Minority Commission stated that SPQEM covered of 253 madrassas in 2016. The number decreased to 190 due to the delay in salaries. As a result, 200 out of 700 unpaid teachers resigned from the job. As per the commission’s analysis, the state has over 56000 children enrolled in various madrassas.
Uttrakhand Madarsa Education Board (UMEB) officials disclosed that the Centre is yet to give Rs. 48 crores for SPQEM (calculating from 2016 to the current date).
” We have requested the Centre, on numerous occasions, for release of the funds and to solve the payment issue of the teachers,” said Zameer Ahmed, deputy registrar of the UMEB.
” The matter will be solved based on the availability of the budget with us. We are having talks with the Centre to address the issue soon,” said Yashpal Arya, Uttarakhand minority affairs minister.
UP, Jharkhand, MP and other states under the scheme are facing the same situation. It has affected more than 50000 teachers employed in these madrassas.