With the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacting the education system in India, a new report now states that the majority of private schools across the country have reported a 20-50 per cent dip in revenue, which has led some of them to reduce teachers' salaries.
According to the Central Square Foundation (CSF) report, an NGO working on quality school education in India, the study was conducted with over 1,100 respondents (parents, school administrators and teachers) across 20 states and union territories.
Three-fourths of the schools have faced delays in RTE reimbursements, while more than 55 per cent saw a significant decline in new admissions this academic year. As per the 25 per cent RTE quota, non-minority private schools have to provide free entries to students selected by the state government, news agency PTI reported.
"The cost heads in the schools have hardly changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the revenue has decreased between 20-50 pc for majority of schools. Parents' inability of paying school fees was highest among the urban schools, resulting in the dip in revenues," the report said.
As per the report, the majority of the schools have not taken loans to meet the institute's financial needs. Only 3 per cent of them have accessed loans, while the loans of 5 per cent are under process.
Dip In Teachers' Salary
As far as the teachers are concerned, 55 per cent of them faced a reduction in salary in most private schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the other cost heads of schools like electricity bills, building rent, etc. remained the same during the lockdown, they cut down their teachers' salaries. The low fee schools put the wages of 65% of teachers on hold, while the percentage was 37 for the schools with a high fee. In addition, the report stated, 54 per cent of teachers do not have an alternate source of income, 30 per cent meet their financial requirements by private coaching classes.
"Teachers are doing their share of the work.. Why should the fees be even halved? The bus fees should be exempted no doubt but tuition fees can't be halved," Nazima, one of the Srinagar based private school teacher said.
"Teachers are working 24*7 for the kids,, to reach out to them through remote classes.. We are being called and texted by parents all through the day..But still, there have been salary cuts during the pandemic, which is very unfortunate," another school teacher Shaista added.
While 55 per cent of urban teachers are confident that the schools will resume their services after things get back to normal, the rural teachers and those from low-fee schools do not feel the same.
On the part of parents, 70 per cent stated that school fees did not change, and only 50 per cent of parents reported paying the fees.
"Twenty per cent parents reported an increased expenditure on technology and infrastructure and 15 pc reported increased education expenses. Seventy-eight pc parents reported that they will be able to continue to afford their child's education at the same school," it said.