After 25 years of service, school terms peon 'surplus'
How would one feel, if after 25 years of service one day the organisation deems the employee surplus and stops payment of salary? Just ask Uma Dhavale
The peon in KN Suryavanshi Primary School in Aranyeshwar has not received her wages since July 2013.
There are as many as 79 teachers and non-teaching staffers from government-aided schools in PMC area, who have been in the same boat for the past six months.
That the demand for English-medium education is consistently growing in the city is reflected in the acute decrease in number of students taking admission in Marathi-medium schools. Consequently, many staffers at the Marathi schools are becoming surplus. However, sources say it is the responsibility of state government to shift these teachers and workers to nearby schools, and not stop their salaries under any situation. The list of surplus staff in PMC area includes 49 teachers, 16 clerks and 14 peons.
“Citing the reason that I have become surplus according to number of students admitted in last academic year, the government has stopped my salary since July. In the last 25 years, I had never experienced such a problem,” Dhavale told MiD DAY.
Dhavale’s total salary comes to around Rs 17,000 a month. It should be noted that she is the sole breadwinner of her family. Her husband died many years ago, and her only daughter got married some time back.
“I live in a rental house. As I have not been getting any salary, the rent is due. Now it has become very difficult for me to even meet daily expenses. I had never imagined that I would have to suffer so much,” she lamented.
Nanda Mane, chairperson of Pune division of Maharashtra State Approved Private Primary Teachers and Employees Organisation, said, “How can government suddenly discontinue the salaries of so many people? Even though these teachers and non-teaching staffers have become surplus, till they are shifted to other schools, their present salaries should be paid.”
“It all started after the government introduced a new software named ‘Shalarth’ to fix the strength of teachers in aided schools in four districts, including Pune. In this mechanism, the salary invoices of surplus staff are not generated. Hence, they are not receiving payment. However, adopting a humanitarian approach, government should immediately renew their salaries through offline mode,” said Dyaneshwar Gaikwad, deputy chairperson of the organisation.
“If a school is not getting adequate number of students, are the teachers at fault? The only reason behind this is that parents now prefer English-medium education to Marathi. When I joined after summer vacation, the school clarified that I had become surplus and it has stopped receiving salary grant for me from the government,” said Kavita Mujumale, a primary teacher from Vimalabai Lunkad Vidyalaya.
The other side
On the other hand, state education joint director Govind Nandede says he has already intimated the education secretary about the issue, and requested that offline salary be issued to all the surplus teachers and employees.
“We have received the list of teachers and non-teaching staffers, who have not been getting their pay since July 2013. I hereby request you to take appropriate steps and give my office directions in this regard,” Nandede said in a letter written to the state education secretary on Dec 10.
Despite several attempts, state education director (primary) Mahaveer Mane remained unavailable for comment.