Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Zahid Khan was teaching science for 20 years in a private school in the city. After the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, the school management asked him to stop coming to the school with the promise that he would be re-employed when things improve. But the call to rejoin duty never came.
Khan, 46, is the sole breadwinner for his family including his wife and their daughter and son. His son is a student of Class 11 and his daughter is in class 5. He has been forced to shift his daughter to a school, which charges less fees. “I am living off my savings. I tried many things, including property dealing, but none worked,” he says.
Khan is not alone. Hundreds of teachers in private schools have lost jobs due to the pandemic. Many of them were sacked, others were sent on unpaid leave and the salary of others was slashed by 50% or more.
Mohammed Shabbir Ansari, 47, who was working as a lab assistant in another private school for 17 years, is also one of them. “After Janata Curfew (in March 2020), I was asked to stop coming to the school. They gave no commitment as to whether and when my services would be restored,” he says.
Ansari is the sole earner of his family with his wife, a son and his elderly parents. He is now working as an accountant in the office of a lawyer. It is a part-time job and he is somehow managing with the salary he gets.
Payal Chaurasia, 25, says the school where she was a sports teacher didn’t call her even after reopening of the institution. “ I am not the breadwinner of my family but I have lost my financial independence,” she says. She is yet to find another job.
An Urdu teacher Masroor Usmani, 38, says he was sacked after the first lockdown was imposed. “I am the sole earner in my family. I am now teaching Quran in Darul-ul-Islam part time and I also take tuitions. But the loss of my job is definitely causing problems to me,” he says.