Maharashtra English School Teachers Association (MESTA) along with Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA) submitted their memorandum of demands to the Maharashtra School Education Minister today explaining the plight of over 600,000 teachers and 150,000 support staff and their families who were suffering due to orders passed by the ministry related to collection of school fees.
MESTA stated that the financial condition of the teachers and schools are abysmal and need immediate financial assistance to function and release full salaries to the staff. It fears,any further financial distress on educational institutions will lead to downsizing in schools and also temporary or permanent closure of thousands of schools in the state having a huge impact on the ecosystem.
MESTA mentioned that several arbitrary decisions taken by the government was having a cascading effect on the livelihood of the teachers and support staff – include administration, maintenance, security and transport staff etc. and their survivability depends on collection of school fees. It also said that the sole income for these private-unaided schools in the state depended on school fees, unlike government schools,and demanded the government pay salaries to the employees of the private schoolslike it assisted other sectors by providing financial package including start-ups.
The letter stated that the government should step in and support the teachers by:
1) Paying Minimum Wages,
2) Release of RTE dues pending since the last four years,
3) Wavier ofGovernment Taxes and Electricity charges for the academic year 2020-21 and
4) Give adequate representation to MESTA members in any regulatory committee formed by the state government to ensure fairness in the committee’s decisions.
The letter stated that despite earlier court orders on the fee issue and more recently passed by the Bombay High Court, teachers are apprehensive on the implementation of these orders in its true spirit.
Mr. SanjayraoTayadePatil, President, MESTA said, “Due to a handful of parents, even those who are not eligible are demanding fee cuts. While schools have addressed the same and revised fees last year, they are under immense financial distress and are on a brink of closure leading to unemployment to the tune of lakhs. Parents should realise the efforts and pains taken by the teachers during the lockdown. They went beyond the call of duty and like other agencies who were providing essential services, teachers too, should be honoured with the title of ‘Covid Warriors’ but they have been insulted with massive pay cuts due to non-payment of fees. The government should ensure court orders should be implemented in its true spirit.”.”