Expresses concern over teacher couple suicide at Koilkuntla

Lokesh to CM: Give relief package to private teachers

Expresses concern over teacher couple suicide at Koilkuntla

Suicide took place on day or schools reopening

Writes to CM on plight of Covid hit private employees

Private employees suffering from hunger pangs

AMARAVATI (prajaamaravati): TDP National General Secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh on Thursday urged Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to rush immediate financial support to the teachers working in the private schools and colleges in order to rescue them from the severe financial crisis and hunger pangs.

In a letter sent to the Chief Minister here, Mr. Lokesh stressed the need for financial assistance to AP teachers on the lines of the packages given in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other States in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Dozens of private teachers committed suicides in Telugu states. The suicide of teacher couple at Koilkuntla was alarming and an eye-opener to the deteriorating situation.

Expressing serious concern, Mr. Lokesh said: "It is deeply distressing to note that, on the day schools reopened in AP, a teacher couple running a private school in Koilkuntla committed suicide. They buckled under pressure from money lenders. How many more such incidents must happen before the AP government takes meaningful action? There are more than 12,000 private schools in AP, providing employment to nearly 1.25 lakh teachers."

Mr. Nara Lokesh told the CM that even now, many teachers were reportedly receiving only 60-70% of their salaries even now and there was no clarity on when the retrenched teachers would be rehired. Thousands of teachers in private schools have not been receiving salaries regularly since the lockdowns began in March 2020. Over the last 5 months, nearly 5 lakh members of the teaching and non-teaching staff working in schools, colleges, and universities have borne the brunt of the economic recession resulting from the covid-19 pandemic.

Mr. Lokesh said that similar problems were posed to contract teachers in government junior colleges. Their hunger pangs and their rising debts became like a hidden epidemic afflicting our education sector. There have been multiple reports in the Telugu and English dailies of teachers being forced to sell vegetables, undertaking construction work and several other types of manual labour. There was an instance of a Telugu lecturer with a PhD in Kadapa who was forced to do agricultural labor to support his family.

Mr. Nara Lokesh said that another Telugu teacher from Nellore was forced to sell bananas to sustain his family.These were only a few among many tragic stories of how our society and government have failed in helping out the architects of our children's future. Both the Telugu states have seen dozens of suicides among private teachers due Covid-induced hardships. The AP Government should provide immediate assistance to long-suffering staff of the private education sector.

Drawing comparisons with other States, Mr. Lokesh said that Telangana gave Rs. 2,000 financial assistance and 25 kilos of rice per month to private teachers. Karnataka announced a relief package of Rs. 5,000 for primary school teachers. Similarly, there must be immediate financial and in-kind transfers to their families in the short-term in AP, on the lines of what other State governments have done.

Mr. Lokesh said that livelihood support should be provided to private teachers to help ensure their continuing service to 

our current and future generations. It was an issue that remained under-reported and unrecognized by the government. It was important since the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic have left thousands of private teachers in financial and mental turmoil. Multiple teacher bodies, individuals, and private schools have already reached out to me to demand relief measures.