In a grim indicator of the financial situation of teachers in TN, several hundred private school teachers in various districts have been pushed to join the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) due to pay cuts in the shutdown period.
S Kumarselvan, a private school teacher in Tirupattur, who could not get salary since March, said, “Initially, I tried to sell vegetables. But it didn’t work out due to strict lockdown norms, therefore, one of my friends recommended that I join MGNREGS, which could fetch a certain guaranteed amount.”
Echoing similar views, K Gangadharan, a post graduate grade teacher taking classes for higher secondary students in a private institution in Villupuram, said he is still in the waitlist for the last two years to get a job in a State-run school after completing TET in 2014. “MGNREGS job is a guaranteed one. In the current scenario, I will at least get money through the scheme to fulfil basic requirements,” he said, adding, “as per the present rule, the distance of worksite will not exceed more than 5 km and no transportation cost is involved.”
Admitting the teachers’ financial crisis to work for MGNREGS, Federation of Associations of Private Schools in Tamil Nadu secretary DC Elangovan said, “Their livelihood has been severely affected and many teachers, especially in rural areas, have been struggling to provide daily food to their families.”
Stating that the government should seriously look into the matter, he said, “Interest-free loan could be provided to these teachers, who will repay it once the normalcy is restored.”