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Pre-primary teachers demand humane pay

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, Nov 20 � The caring hands that help students to take the first step into the world of education � pre-primary school teachers � are paid Rs 1,800 monthly for their services in Meghalaya.

In Meghalaya, teachers in deficit and government educational institutions are taking home a revised pay structure as recommended by the Fourth Pay Commission, but not before a fight with the government.

But, the pre-primary school teachers� salary has remained fixed at Rs 1,800 for the past ten-odd years. They have so far only made representations to the government demanding a �humane pay structure.�

These pre-school teachers not only instill into students the basics of education by helping learn alphabets and numbers, but they also double up as �parents� caring sometimes difficult kids in institutions that can also be called cr�che.

There are about 710 such schools in the State and many more that number, pre-primary school teachers all helping to lay the foundation of a strong educational system in the State.

�We have made many representations in the past ten-odd years to the government to look into our plight. How can we sustain our families with Rs 1,800 per month? The government has so far only made promises,� Erica Dkhar, a pre-primary school teacher said.

There are other emotional issues that these teachers have to cope with, like the mid-day meals. Under the mid-day meal scheme, students in Class I and above are provided free food in schools. Not the students in kindergarten.

�It�s difficult to convince these toddlers that they are not being given food and only their seniors would get that privilege. The government must seriously look into this aspect too if it wants to achieve 100 per cent literacy rate,� she said.

The teachers say poor parents send their toddlers to pre-schools thinking that they would get food. �But once they find out that their kids are not getting that privilege they stop sending their kids,� Dkhar added.

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