Told that their services are not required during remote learning, guest teachers of subjects like art, music, physical education and home science have not been employed by many Delhi government schools since May.
On May 8, services of 20,000-odd guest teachers across all Delhi government schools — who are paid per day of work — were discontinued. In July, Education Minister Manish Sisodia said they would be re-engaged as part of the remote-teaching learning plan. On July 13, the education department directed all school heads to “engage willing guest teachers and contract teachers wherever required for online teaching-learning activities.” However, guest teachers engaged as librarians or for art, music, PE and home science and some language teachers found their roles have dried up. Many have been told they cannot be engaged as there is no requirement for them.
“We are the ‘miscellaneous category teachers’ and what is being said is that those who will not be taking any kind of online lessons will not be called. Apart from me, the home science and drawing guest teachers have not been called at my school. Other guest teachers who teach subjects have been called and our principal told us she would need a separate order to re-engage us,” said a music teacher at a girls’ school.
At an Urdu medium school in Northeast Delhi, about half the guest teachers have been engaged. “There are 31 guest teachers in my school. Two of us P.E. teachers, the librarian and around 10 Urdu teachers have not been engaged yet.
We have not been given any clarity as to when we will finally be engaged,” said a P.E. teacher at the school.
As these teachers are engaged and paid per day of work, they have been unemployed and not paid any salary for the last four months. “Classes are happening only for major subjects , so we do not have a requirement. If we hire and try to accommodate them, we will need to justify the action at the time of clearing payment of salaries to the DDE and the pay and allowance office,” said the head of a North Delhi school.
Director of Education Udit Prakash Rai said the education department is looking to issue clearer guidelines on hiring and engagement soon:”Until Unlock-4, we had asked heads of schools to engage teachers as per their requirement and many heads did not require teachers in some areas. Now that Unlock 4 will allow 50% of teachers to come to school at a time and children to visit school in a limited way, we will be issuing a circular with more organised engagement directives.
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