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‌My New School Kupwara: Teachers without 6 months salary, terminated

”Will take action after investigation,” CEO, Kupwara.

This article was prepared by IKs  SPOTLIGHT TEAM: Editor Kamran Ashraf Bhat

Kupwara It was summer when Sanam ( Name changed ) received a selection call from management that, ‘you have been selected, My New School (now IDPS affiliate) welcomes you’. Sanam had applied for teaching purposes at MNS’ last year with high hopes.” When I saw a notification from My New School, I was mesmerized and motivated by the presentation. They had promised respect and timely salaries. After brief deliberation- Face to face interaction, we gave word-to give our best in every possible way,” said Sanam.

For few months, things were going smooth between faculty and Management, but as teachers started online teaching service; there was ‘drastic change in behaviour’ of school management.” we started online classes after lockdown and used to spend more time on online teaching service than what we had been doing in normal circumstances. Whenever the hectic day of online teaching was ending, we had to then struggle with migraine or severe headache and eye irritation due to long hours starring at  Smart Phone Screens. As we were heading towards the end of the month our salary request was often thrown into the trash. Management began to change in behaviour,” said Sanam.

Sanam has not received 6 months of salary despite repeated requests and pleas,” We have been repeatedly requesting management for salary, they are either playing hide and seek- talk to Principle;  Principle says talk to Chairman and he says ‘ I have told financial accountant, talk to him’. Unfortunately, when we call the accountant he is not receiving a single call, this humiliation has been going on for 2 months.”

Another teacher from the same school said that, the school management used their services and when the task was done they through teachers away like ‘plastic disposal utensils’.

“They use a honey trap with bogus promises and when contract finally gets established, management starts its dictations. My New School’s management used our time, energy when they needed our assistance the most and when we asked for what they had promised; they humiliated us and cut us off from communication,” said a female teacher, who requested for anonymity.

Last year after receiving enormous grievances, from private school teachers about withholding salaries, Director of Schools Education issued a circular. “It is impressed upon all the unaided recognised private schools of Kashmir to adhere with the instructions of providing un-interrupted salaries to the staff in the school during lockdown period in lieu of COVID19 pandemic, in letter and spirit,” the circular reads.

Following this circular, Principal Secretary to the government for School Education and Skill Development, Asgar Samoon wrote on Twitter: “Frequent complaints pouring in about nonpayment of ‘genuine’ wages to private school teachers, termination of their services by management without notice despite pandemic.”

Notwithstanding such attention from higher ranks, nothing has changed yet, teachers are terminated without any intimidation and salaries are denied for an indefinite time.

Sanam went on and said, whenever teachers ask for an explanation, The Management of My New School, Kupwara, is excusing of delay in submission of school fees from parents which is misleading information.

The spotlight team contacted thirty-two parents of students currently admitted at My New school for cross check-in the information provided by School management, it was learnt that not a single student among these thirty students have not paid fees. The parents told that when they had to submit a final assignment, the accounts office wouldn’t accept files until and unless ‘clearance of dues’.

“When we joined the faculty of My New School, the Management said that, ‘ they will not allow any faculty member to leave in the middle of the session ‘, we stood on the ground. Out of blue, the management told us while holding 6 months salary that, the contract is null and void due to up-gradation of school. The management claimed of affiliating school with IDPS (International Delhi Public School ); said to us that school will have to receive new faculty outside Kashmir, therefore, you have to go. If they have money to invest on interior up-gradation of school what is stopping them from releasing our hard-earned money,” said, an ex faculty member whose contract has been declined by management.

This ex faculty member added that if the school is running dry why don’t owner files for bankruptcy and winds up school operations.

When Inside Kashmir’s Spotlight team contacted, Chairman, the incoming calls facility on his Phone number were suspended and we couldn’t get his response despite frequent efforts of communication.

Moreover, the Spotlight team contacted  Accounts section in charge, Iqbal and asked him why the school has withheld salaries of teachers, Iqbal said:  parents have not submitted fees. When Spotlight reporter counter-argued Iqbal that; IK inquired about this with  parents of your enrolled students they impugn your statement.” Iqbal replied, “why your reporter has contacted Parents and why he didn’t take permission from us for contacting Parents,”

Potrait of , MR Iqbal accountant MNS

According to our sources, under campaign of,  ‘affiliation with IDPS ‘ the same school is charging around 20,000  of admission fees.

Meanwhile, when Inside Kashmir contacted, CEO Education, Kupwara, he said, ” We are requesting in large to every private school teacher whose salary has been withheld or School has compromised on rules, send a written application so that we can investigate the matter. If any school has withheld salaries, we will strictly take action.”

Spotlight Team is an investigative journalism initiative of daily Inside Kashmir. Spotlight Team investigates issues and publishes reports online and offline .