Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore-based Narayana School teacher Venkatasubbaiah who used to teach Telugu to high school students for nearly 15 years was laid off. Despite the lockdown, he had continued teaching his students through online classes. But for the past three weeks he has been selling bananas on a pushcart after he lost his job during the pandemic.
On May 14, a few days before classes came to an end, the school management held a meeting online with Venkatasubbaiah and five of his colleagues and told them they need not continue work anymore because their “performance had been unsatisfactory.”
On hearing about his situation, many of Venkatasubbaiah’s former students launched a campaign to help him raise funds. The former teacher told The News Minute, “Selling bananas is a temporary job. If so many former students from years back wanted to help me, I must have made an impact as a teacher. I want to go back to teaching eventually, even if it pays less.” His students helped him raise about Rs 86,300.
Venkatasubbaiah further added, “They told us there was no need to work anymore, that we were of no use as we were not bringing in admissions. We tried to explain that it had been difficult to go canvassing for admissions during the pandemic as people wouldn’t let us into their houses. But they called us incompetent.” Venkataasubbaiah has two masters degrees in Telugu and Public Administration.
“I had financial problems, and medical expenses for my son’s illness. I couldn’t take any more loans because I was already in debt, and my financial situation may not get better anytime soon. The father of a former student whom I had taught back in 2007 helped me out by allowing me to sell his banana produce,” he added.
Private school teachers in Andhra Pradesh also alleged that in many schools run as a chain of institutions including Sri Chaitanya, Narayana and Bhashyam schools, teachers have not been paid full salaries or have been removed from their jobs during the lockdown.
“I told my students they shouldn’t be giving me money, that they should be investing in their own careers, but they insisted on helping me. I wish the government would support us by providing some livelihood options, since there are not many teaching jobs available at this time,” concluded Venkatasubbaiah.
Source: The News Minute
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