Special School Teachers Languish with Measly Pay

Special School Teachers Languish with Measly Pay

Though Tamil Nadu has emerged as one of the pioneering States in eradicating child labour under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) and Indus Project, its committed band of men and women working in project offices and 200 special schools for child labourers in districts are an anguished lot.

Languishing with meagre consolidated wages, ranging from Rs.1,500 to Rs.4,500, for more than two decades, 3,500 staff members, including officers, instructors, teachers, vocational teachers, field officers and administrative employees, are struggling to make ends meet.

This Central government project, covering registered societies and special schools, is being implemented, under the State’ supervision in 17 districts in Tamil Nadu, with the objective of rescuing child labourers from hazardous and non-hazardous industries and from poverty before putting them in special schools for mainstreaming.

The employees, who are working under the NCLP and Indus projects, are visiting every household in the child labour-prone areas and enrol the children in special schools. So far, 3,600 children have been rescued and educated. But their salary is measly, lower than the daily wage fixed by the government for labourers.

They claim that their dedicated service has helped to bring down child labour in the State. The dropout rate has become negligible, compared with other States. Many children who studied in special schools, they point out, have even joined professional colleges.

“Since we devoted our time and life to making the mission of child labour eradication a success, many of us who have completed even two decades of service have never thought of our personal needs and livelihood,” says an MA, M. Phil graduate, who teaches in a special school.

The salary of special school teachers and other staff of the NCLP, they say, should be immediately revised, and their services regularised. To voice their grievances, they have formed the Tamil Nadu National Child Labour Special School Teachers and Workers Association.