Private school teachers in a limbo over their future

Ever since the class X cut off point was removed, the private schools in the country are finding it hard to survive financially. Now, with absorption of class X students in the government schools, more private higher secondary schools will be forced to close down, which means the teachers and support staff will be out of jobs.

A senior teacher in one of the private schools in the country said the government’s decision has affected all the private schools, including teachers and non-teaching staff. The decision will affect the livelihoods of all the individuals, and be especially hard on families depending on just a sole breadwinner.

“From next year, we have to search for jobs, and we specialize in teaching in higher secondary so we will not be eligible to teach the primary-level education,” said the teacher.

In his case, he has been teaching in one of the private schools for 18 years, and to look for other jobs will be difficult. He said there is no scope for a high school teacher from a private school to work in the civil service since RCSC will not accept them. And also, it will be difficult to look for jobs in other sectors.

He shared that the government’s decision has negatively impacted the teachers in private schools including all non-teaching staff. The future for untrained teachers look bleak as well. Even the school canteens are affected.

“We are helpless now,” he said. He added that the government should come with some other measures to absorb them

Currently, the teachers are committed to finishing the 2022 academic year, and no matter the number of job vacancies in the country, the teachers in his school are not applying for any other jobs. However, they are preparing for next year and also looking for jobs.

Similarly, another private school teacher said there is a high chance that many private schools will be shutting down. He said there is little hope that private schools can survive another year.

In an earlier interview with this paper, the Education Minister had stated that almost 17,500 class X students will be appearing for class X in the upcoming board exams. There are 13,000 class X students in the public schools and 4,000 class X students who failed and some are repeaters in class X. This would be the first time that a huge number of class X students will sit for the board exams, otherwise it was just 12,500 students who sat for class X board exams till now.

He said if all or most students pass their exams, there will be no seats in the public schools, and eventually they will go to private schools.

Some of the teachers hope the Ministry of Education will absorb the experienced teachers in the government schools.

A teacher said, “The Education Minister had stated that higher secondary teachers can teach students in class IX and X, but private schools should also have readiness to have class IX and X. How feasible is to have class IX and X? On the one hand, the education ministry is giving opportunity but assuming that there will be less students, and the schools might suffer.”

He said unless the education ministry and government come up with the plans for the teachers and non- teaching staff otherwise, all of the private high school teachers will be unemployed, said the teacher.

Another teacher said it is not that the education ministry is not going to send the students to the private schools, however, given a choice students opt to go to government schools over private schools.

“It will depend on the situation next year as the schools will know how many students will get through the class X board exams. Also, personally I feel that teachers may not be unemployed and would land in some jobs if not in teaching careers,” said the teacher.

He said it will be difficult to provide jobs or save teachers and other staff from unemployment, unless there is some intervention made by the government.

He said working in the private sector is volatile, therefore, a businessman or a teacher must be prepared for unexpected turn of events.

Another teacher who is the sole earner in his family said the private schools are at the mercy of successive ruling governments.

“The country is not able to solve the unemployment issue, and in addition because of the government’s decision, not just the unemployment issues in the private schools, but employees in Drayangs and Gaydrungs are also unemployed,” he added.

He said teachers and support staff including caretakers, cooks and bus drivers will be affected badly, and this is going to further escalate the unemployment problem. From an economic point of view, this is not a good decision on the government’s part, he further said.

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