Many people have lost their jobs and livelihood due to the lockdown and the ongoing pandemic. With no other option left in hand, they’ve had to take up other professions to make ends meet. 

Speaking of which, many guest teachers who were working on a contractual basis in Delhi government schools and were being paid on a daily basis have now been forced to look for alternative jobs to fulfill their basic needs.

Schools have been closed since 19th March in Delhi but, since classes were being conducted online, some guest teachers took part in virtual learning till 8th May. After 8th May, no more virtual classes were conducted as the Delhi government announced summer vacations from May 11 to June 3. 

According to reports, there were around 1000 teachers whose contracts were not extended after March 31 as they have not cleared the mandatory Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET). This test is conducted twice a year. The next scheduled test is in July but this year there is uncertainty if it will be held due to the pandemic.

It seems like guest teachers are now staring at an uncertain future. Wazir Singh, a 34-year-old teacher who worked at Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Sultanpuri H-block as an English teacher till May 8, was forced to hire a cart for ₹2,000 and sell fruits from 10 AM to 6 PM near his rented one-room set. He said:

I am earning Rs 400 to Rs 500 per day. I have to work to support my family. My father does not keep well and needs medicine. My three younger brothers are studying. I will continue to sell vegetables and fruits until the department calls me back. At least there will be some income.

Devesh Kumar, another teacher who was teaching natural science at the Government Boys’ Senior Secondary School in Mehrauli had to set up a bicycle puncture repair shop near his rented accommodation in Ghaziabad. He said:

I am the only earning member for the family of four — parents, wife and a son. My son studies in class 3 at a private school. I could not pay his fee this academic session as I am out of work since April. I am repairing tyres to make our ends meet.

A senior DoE official said due to the prevailing situation the government can’t accommodate so many teachers and pay them. He further added:

These teachers will be called back when there is a requirement. There is enough time for them to clear CTET till then.

When Delhi Education Minister, Manish Sisodia was asked about the government’s plan to take back guest teachers he said:

The matter is to be taken by the services department, which is under the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi. Service matters are not discussed with us.

More than 20,000 guest teachers are employed in 1,030 government schools across Delhi but, given the current circumstances they are facing, their future looks bleak.