Teachers in private schools may be the most severely affected by COVID-19 in Nepal.
They have been jobless for months since the schools that closed in April have yet to reopen. Schools are not allowed to open in big towns like Kathmandu and Lalitpur, despite the fact that practically all other sectors have progressively returned to routine as restrictions have been eased.
Although local levels in the two districts have allowed schools to continue physical presence classes, district administration offices have issued notices instructing schools not to conduct classes in the presence of teachers and pupils.
Many private school instructors have lost their jobs in the previous two years as a result of the COVID-19, and many have been placed on leave in the hopes of being rehired once the situation has returned to normal. Those who keep their employment are only paid half of their monthly salary.
According to the Institutional School Teachers’ Union (ISTU), the first wave of COVID-19 resulted in the layoff of approximately 10,000 teachers working in private schools. Although many teachers from outside the Kathmandu Valley lost their jobs in the first wave, many Kathmandu Valley teachers lost their employment in the second wave, according to Devi Datta Poudel, vice-chairperson of the ISTU.
According to Datta, 20 teachers at Paragon School in Kathmandu recently lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Similarly, Shuvatara School in Lalitpur was closed a few months ago for the same reason.
This year, the status of teachers employed by reputable private schools is more precarious, according to Poudel. Permanent teachers at large private institutions, he claims, are also in jeopardy because their facilities have been drastically reduced.
Though the school owners have no intention of not paying their teachers and employees, Tika Puri, chairperson of the Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal (PABSON), said they have little choice because they have lost their source of income.
ISTU, on the other hand, accused several schools for diverting admission money to other operating costs such as vehicle installment payments and rent payments, rather than paying professors.
According to Poudel, schools do not provide scholarships or other resources to children who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
Puri rejected the accusation, claiming that schools are unable to collect money from guardians and that many kids do not have access to virtual learning. He went on to say that even if their children are taking online programs, their parents are not paying the entire fees.
Schools, he said, must reopen physically now because they are in the midst of an existential crisis, and kids’ learning habits are degrading day by day.
Teachers’ issues would be rectified gradually after schools are allowed to begin physical education lessons, according to Puri.
Prof. Dr. Balchandra Luitel, an educationist, sees this problem as a presumptive situation because neither private schools nor the government had planned for it.