By Zeeshan Rasool Khan
With academic degrees, it is considered incompatible to apply for the job in the department other than education. Moreover, rather than applying in private institutions, aspirants preferably desire to serve in government Institutes which is not instantly possible after studies. No doubt, posts are available but government prefers to fill them through contractual mode especially in higher secondary schools and colleges which add the prefix “Contractual” to the appointees. In fact, it is not obnoxious for educated youth to serve on contractual basis before getting permanent job because right from inclusion and implementation of this policy, the candidates are selected on the basis of merit.
Eligible candidates are recruited, thus is matter of pride for aspirants to get adjusted as their recruitment determines their eligibility .There have been cases of favoritism in the past but now the candidates are supposed to go through screening tests before their final appointment which makes it possible to have better and qualified teachers. However, apathetic attitude of administration towards contractual lecturers has reduced credibility of this policy and even of teachers. Right from 1998, many educated youth are working as contractual lecturers in 10+2 institutions across Jammu and Kashmir; since then there has not been any hike in their pay. These days street vendor earns good amount of money but this so called educated youth with title ‘builder of nation” are getting Rs. 7000 per month which constitutes Rs 235 per. This too less to meet two ends of a day and is not even one-third of salary of their permanent fellows having similar assignment making this system a new version of beggar system with only difference in outfits.
In some schools, these teachers (contractual lecturers) are often questioned for punctuality and absence. I’m not demanding for their relaxation in attending institutes or justifying their tardiness but it hurts when non-contractual staff members are not queried for the same. The service rules 15 days of leave for academic session but here again authorities implement the rule in letter and spirit when it comes to contractual lecturer. When more than 15 days’ leave is taken, this already dejected contractual lecturer faces heat and his salary is deducted which is already scrimpy .Contrary to that, nobody dares to ask non-contractual staff members who remain absent even for months , making former to feel discriminated. Moreover, contractual teacher is supposed to complete his assignment by or before time in the way possible instead of being abided by rules of institutes as is seen in outside states but here he has to work from morning till evening like permanent staff. Meant for teaching higher secondary classes (11th & 12th), they are even utilized for teaching middle classes under the “Arrangement formulae” without extra wages in most of higher secondary schools.
Working on meager salaries not only effects the youth economically but disturbs them morally for being looked down upon. They are humiliated on a daily basis and are treated like low-grades. Most often, fellow permanent members in college or school do not even like to sit with them and prefer separation, although they are not lagging qualification or any other necessary attribute for qualifying to be respected and treated as teachers. It is not the case with all schools but such examples do exist.
Some of these teachers have crossed the age of marriage .Having tag of lecturer does not serve them because the term ‘contractual’ for general masses means a person, inferior to labour. Most of them are not even able to crack job-oriented exams not because of their inability but for their specialization in particular subject. They put their sweat and blood to provide comprehensive knowledge to students about respective subjects thus failing to concentrate on their personal life and finally are thrown out through “Use and Throw procedure” after period of few months.
Due this callous approach of government, sometimes of school administration and others, most of people in this group have stopped taking work as devotion .Let’s ask ourselves ,who would like to work with indefatigability in such an atmosphere where a person neither gets enough livelihood nor respect and unfortunately its impact then becomes evident from student’s performance. However, the government without changing state of affairs persistently follows same exercise annually and expects betterment in system.
Additionally, mechanism of appointing contractual lecturers adds to their agony. Wandering from school to school for attestation of forms, appearing in exams, visiting courts for affidavits every year is not only cumbrous but humiliating too and the way they manage it is actually reflection of their patience and compulsion else no one could bear all this. After appointment, some are posted in areas where they had to spend half of their salary as fare which is another cruelty with their qualification and abilities.
Seniors in education department, concerned about educated youth now describe it “slow poisoning” aimed at ruining their career through amount of Rs7000. But what is the alternative? Where should educated youth go to fulfill day to day needs? Should they join business after dreaming about government jobs? Should they join street vendors after burning mid-night oil? Can’t the government owe them and devise a policy for their inclusion so that they can be employed in productive way?
Time and again, these teachers want their grievances to be heard but every time these go unheard. The government must come forward on humanitarian grounds and address the genuine concerns of contractual lecturers so that they would also live their life comfortably with repute, honor and dignity like other employees do and can also aspire to dream..
—The author is a Postgraduate Student of Zoology. He can be reached at: email@example.com