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Parents’ loan to teachers

- Salary denial spurs collection of money by guardians

Siliguri, July 14: Guardians at Siliguri Hindi High School distributed interest-free loans for the third time today to 13 contractual teachers who hadn’t been paid salaries since March.

The management of the state-aided school was not forthcoming on the reason for the denial of salaries to the teachers. However, the issue started after the parents had refused to give increased fees effected in January.

An amount of around Rs 80,000 was paid to the 13 teachers today by the Siliguri Hindi High School Guardians Committee which collected Rs 1,000 each from around 430 parents.

“These teachers have to support their families, fund the education of their children and pay for medical expenses. The school management is insensitive to all their problems and has withheld their salaries for the past four months. The amount we gave to each teacher is equivalent to the salary for June,” said Sandipan Bhattacharya, the president of the committee. He added that the teachers would repay the money without interest once they received their salaries.

The salaries of these teachers range from Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000.

In June, the guardians had distributed an interest-free loan of over Rs 2.50 lakh, equivalent to three months’ salaries, to 14 contractual teachers in two instalments. One of the teachers on contract later left the school after getting another job.

The school had in January increased the annual fees from Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,900 for existing students and from Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,525 for those getting newly admitted to Class VI.

The school had hiked the fees claiming it was a linguistic minority institution. But the guardians said the school was not a minority institution and demanded that the annual fee be brought down to Rs 240 like in any other government-aided school.

The teacher in charge started collecting Rs 240 on the instruction of Sanjib Ghosh, the district inspector of the school, last month.

The school management said legal steps would be taken to settle the issue.

“The school managing committee has appointed the contractual teachers and now they refuse to listen to us. The teacher in charge is collecting fee of Rs 240 without our consent and some guardians are collecting money to the tune of Rs 1,000 to give it to the teachers. All this is happening without the consent of the management. We will resort to legal steps to settle this issue,” said Sitaram Dalmiya, a member of the managing committee.

The school has 11 government-approved teachers.

Dalmiya, whose family is also into the wholesale of groceries, said the school was a Marwari-speaking linguistic minority institution.

The contractual teachers said they continued to discharge their duties as the school didn’t have enough teachers. “We cannot stop teaching because the number of government-approved teachers is only 11and there are around 1,200 students. So, it is our moral responsibility to continue to teach the students,” Shyam Dubey, a contractual teacher said.

Among the 13 teachers, seven have post-graduate degrees and the remaining six are graduates. Two of the teachers also have BEd degrees.

Siliguri SDO Deepap Priya P. has called a meeting of the teacher-in-charge, contractual teachers and school managing committee members in her office on July 17.