Teachers in high schools of Mudhol Taluk under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikshya Abhiyaan (RMSA) scheme don’t get paid for months on end.
“The situation is so that we don’t feel like government employees anymore,” said Mr Dombar, who teaches English to students in Soragaon village government high school that is under the (RMSA) scheme. It has been four months and teachers of this school are still expecting their monthly salary. They owe money to their relatives and friends. This problem is not unique to Soragaon village or Mudhol taluk alone. Rather, this trend of teachers going unpaid for months is same all over Karnataka. Most of them come from humble backgrounds and are the only earning members in their families. Due to non-payment of salary, they get into debt and find it difficult to sustain themselves in the profession which affects their performance.
Mr Dombar said, “I am steeped in debt and unable to pay my house rents.” When he gets his salary, all of it is spent in repaying the people he had borrowed money from. He is then left with very little to sustain himself until the time he receives his next salary.
The school has five teachers including the headmaster and is eligible to receive Rs 3.80 lakhs per month for the school expenditure. The central government is responsible for bearing 75 per cent of the expenditure while state government is supposed to bear the rest but the latter fails to do so.
Government of India launched the RMSA in 2009 with an aim to achieve universal access to quality secondary education. RMSA provides free access to good quality secondary education for everyone up to the age of 14-15 years, irrespective of gender, creed, religious denomination, physical and mental disabilities and social and economic status.
Mr Vitthal Devalagami, Block Education Officer (BEO) of Mudhol, said that the money is not allocated from higher authorities and that they send the money as soon as they receive it.
The schools also rely on donations from people and companies for providing students with ID cards and uniforms. The teachers of Soragaon school collected Rs. 150-Rs. 200 from the children for the same.
Mr Jeeragam, a physical education teacher in a RMSA school said, “The scheme has a lot of faults. As a way to incentivise students, the government should provide them with basic necessities like books, uniforms, ID cards. But we have to collect money from students to arrange for these things.”
Data provided by the BEO of Mudhol showed that there are seven RMSA schools and all face the same problem. While the schools with 8 teachers are allocated 7 lakhs, schools with five teachers are allocated four lakhs.
Mr Dombar said, “Even if we receive our salaries, every two months, a lot of our problems could be solved. We would rather do farming than teach in a system that doesn’t value our dedication and work.”