Teachers working in private sector schools rank high amongst the most unappreciated and underpaid professionals in the country, especially if they happen to be women in rural areas, according to a press release issued by Human Rights Awareness (HRA).
More than 70 per cent female teachers earn Rs1,000 to Rs3,000 a month and are not paid allowances in the private sector, revealed HRA, a local non-governmental organisation. In urban areas, their counterparts earn double, but only five per cent make above Rs6,000 a month. In view of the discrimination faced by women who choose to become teachers, HRA has demanded the government legislate to oblige private schools to pay their teachers a fair salary. There are 315 private schools and colleges registered in Haripur district, which employ 3,000 female teachers. Many educational institutions are not even registered, making it difficult to collect data.
One of the teachers interviewed by HRA in Haripur shared her story. Amber said she was only getting Rs1500 a month but due to scarcity of jobs she was compelled to work for a low salary. Rabia said she only made Rs1,800 per month without any allowance or facility. Private school owners may terminate teachers any time without fear of legal action since they do not issue appointment letters.
HRA team members also organised a meeting with the executive body of the Pakistan Educational Institutional Members Association, Haripur. A member said they do not have funds to pay good salaries. “We pay five kinds of taxes but the government does not offer any facilities for our schools.” The joint sectary who owns a very popular school and college said, “I don’t believe any school is forced to pay less than Rs5,000 in Haripur district.”
When HRA contacted Assistant of Board of Education Abbottbad, Atif Shah, he said they cannot take action against schools which underpay teachers since there is no law to prosecute them. “We request school owners to raise salaries for graduates and postgraduates when we visit them for inspection but they don’t pay any attention.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2012.