In Mumbai’s suburbs, sacked teachers sell idli, newspapers for a living

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The state sacked surplus teachers in September 2016, owing to fewer students seeking admission to Marathi medium-schools.

Fifty-two-year-old Dilp Raje is a teacher who doesn’t go to school. Instead, he sells idli and sambhar on the roadside, something he has been doing for the past three months.

A former part-time teacher in a Kalyan school, Raje was fired by the state education department in September 2016. Surplus teachers in Marathi medium-schools were sacked after fewer students enrolled.

“I always wanted to be a full-time teacher. When I had joined the profession, I was promised a full-time spot, but that never happened,” said Raje, who worked at Shishu Vikas Madhyamik School, Beturkarpada, Kalyan (West). He is the only earning for his family. His children — a 17-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl — and his wife are dependent on him.

Raje, a B. Ed and social science graduate, taught social science and Marathi. He earned Rs6,000 a month, which increased to Rs15,000 when the state approved his post as a part-time teacher in 2009. “I have been asking the education department to change the law and protect our jobs. Around 52 teachers from Thane and Palghar have lost their jobs,” added Raje.

Raje is back to earning Rs6,000 a month by selling breakfast at Vasant Valley in Kalyan (West). “I don’t hesitate to do my job, but I am unsatisfied. I enjoy teaching,” said Raje, who plans to move the court.

The recent changes in the education law state a batch of 30 students for Class 1 to 5 should be given one teacher and a batch of 35 students from Class 6 to 8 will also have one teacher on duty.

Raje claimed that these rules may result in a lack of teachers in schools owing to the absence of job security. Another part-time teacher from Ulhasngar, Bandhusen Ingle, 31, is forced to become a newspaper vendor. He used to earn around Rs20,000 as a teacher at Nyandeep Vidyalay Ulhasnagar.

“The school was like home to me as I was very indulged in all its initiatives. I did not even receive any termination letter after I was removed from the job. I have a daughter studying in class 1 and I cannot figure out how I will pay for her education,” said Ingle.

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