Birla International School fires 20 teachers without notice

Birla International School fires 20 teachers without notice

Anantnag: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and a growing employment crisis in Kashmir, the Birla Open Minds International School (BOMIS) here has laid off at least 20 teachers, without giving them as much as a notice period.
The administration of the school has taken this harsh step regardless of the fact that it has been collecting fees from students on the basis of these very teachers holding online classes regularly.
Kashmir Reader talked to several of the teachers who have been fired. They said that the school administration has for no reason dismissed them from service, despite their best efforts towards the growth of the institution.
“Amid the pandemic we were daily holding three online classes, making three PDFs for the children and two to four videos of different subjects to be distributed among the students,” a teacher fired by the administration told Kashmir Reader.
Another teacher said that the administration made them hold classes on even Sundays to compensate for internet shutdowns, “which are a frequent thing in this part of the valley,” the teacher said.
Notwithstanding the work done by these teachers, day in and day out, they on August 29 and 30 received phone calls from the school administration informing them that their services were no longer needed.
“No notice period, nothing. They fired us with the only promise that they will pay us the salary for the month of September. We are yet to get that and I doubt that they will pay us any money given the way they have been conducting the school affairs,” another teacher told Kashmir Reader.
The teachers said that the norm was a 3-month notice period even if the administration wanted to fire them, “but that should have been on some reasonable grounds.”
The school administration meanwhile is trying to come up with lame excuses, and even telling outright lies
Kashmir Reader talked to the Principal, Dr Daisy Sharma, who simply denied that anyone had been fired from the school. “We have not fired anyone,” she said and disconnected the call.
Chairman of the school, Ghulam Muhammad Lone, said the teachers were put on “hold”.
“They were still in the probationary period and given the pandemic we have not been receiving fees from students regularly. So they have been put on hold for a while, till things get better,” Lone told Kashmir Reader.
The teachers, however, contradicted the statement made by Lone, saying that they joined the school in December last year. “Which means, even if there was a probationary period it would have ended in May this year. Why would they fire us now? Besides, we were never told that we were on a probationary period and can get kicked out of our jobs when we needed them the most,” they said.
Most of these teachers have been working for years at different private schools and had left their earlier jobs on the assurance of a better future by the school administration.
“Little did we know what they were going to do to us. I had been working at another school for over five years and I left my job after this school promised me that I will grow. Leave growing, they have uprooted me all of a sudden,” a teacher said.
The teachers alleged that the school administration, after firing them, has made some fresh appointments at the school, including people from outside the valley. “Does that mean they will render us jobless and get teachers from outside? And if they are out of funds how come they are making new appointments? How will they pay them?” a teacher said.
These teachers said that they have put forth a complaint to the district education office as well as to the general administration department and are awaiting action by the authorities.
Chief Education Officer (CEO) Pulwama, Soni Qureshi, who said that she has come to know that some such thing has happened.
“I have joined very recently and I do not know the full details. I will check on the issue tomorrow after I get to the office,” Qureshi told Kashmir Reader.

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