Thane: CBSE school in Badlapur asks teachers to return half their salary in cheque

CBSE school in Badlapur retrieves portion of teachers’ salary as it wants to dodge board’s guidelines on pay parity

Poddar Brio International School opened in Badlapur in June 2015. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Poddar Brio International School opened in Badlapur in June 2015. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Here's a sad reality check for school teachers. Not only is their job considered a thankless one but they also earn peanuts. And whenever possible, they will be cheated out of that too. A certain Badlapur school has now started making its teachers sign blank cheques and return almost half their salary to the school, alleges a complaint letter sent to the CBSE board.

Also Read: School begs students for teachers' salary

One of the blank cheques signed over by the teachers
One of the blank cheques signed over by the teachers

Poddar Brio International School opened in Badlapur in June 2015, but is yet to be certified by the CBSE board. As a result, the school can only hold classes up to Std VIII, since students cannot sit for the Std X or XII board exams without CBSE affiliation.

Teachers were recently told that the long-awaited certification process was finally underway, and the school would first be inspected to see if it met all the guidelines. Among these guidelines is the qualification of the teachers and their pay grade.

Double standards
Now, it’s no secret that teachers are among the lowest paid professionals anywhere, but the school management was keen to impress the Board, so they decided to hike the salaries to match the guidelines. But the teachers soon learnt that this hike was only on paper, and they would have to return all the extra money. Frustrated by the double standards, teachers have sent a complaint letter to the CBSE head office to intimate them about the issue before the inspection.

“In a full staff meeting conducted by the chairman of the school, we were told that in the month of November, an inspection team from CBSE would be coming to our school for affiliation. To show the CBSE board, they will pay us as per the government rules for two months — September and October. But the extra amount has to be returned to the school in the form of an advanced cheque,” said the teachers in a complaint letter to the CBSE board.

Read Story: Show us the money: School teachers

The letter added: “For example, if my salary is Rs 18,400, but as per regulations my salary should be Rs 28,100. I was paid that much and then extra amount was returned to them through an advance cheque.”

This farce started in the September-October salary cycle and was repeated the next month as well. The amount that teachers had to return varied greatly, depending on how much gap there was between their original salary and the CBSE standard. Some had to return about 10%, while others had to return well over half the money. Of course, this also means that they are being paid less than half of what they should make ideally.

Reality cheque
One of the teachers from the school said, “The salary chaos has baffled all of us, but very few speak about it, fearing the consequences. We were asked to give the administration a signed blank cheque before the salary was credited to our account. Whatever amount was over and above our normal pay, we had to return it all.”

“The school has been really clever in executing their plan. We just hope that the CBSE takes cognisance of the complaint. Since an inspection was expected, even the class teachers were reshuffled abruptly, perhaps because of the guidelines on educational qualifications. All these irregularities should stop.”

‘Can’t explain it away’
“Of course, the school will deny it. But how will they explain everything that has happened — from the meeting with the chairman, to all the teachers signing cheques in front of the admin staff, it has all been captured on CCTV camera,” said one teacher.

“Due to the demonetisation drive, all withdrawals had to be made in person at the bank. All teachers were taken to the bank in Badlapur, where our salary accounts are held. Why should we all go there and make self-withdrawals at the same time?” questioned another teacher.

The other side
However, school chairman AK Singh completely refuted the allegations, and said, “There may be teachers who are unhappy with the management for whatever reason, who are spreading such news. We are not even expecting any inspection so soon.” He added, “We have applied for CBSE affiliation, but there is no update on when the inspection is scheduled.”

CBSE board says
The CBSE board PRO, Rama Sharma, said, “We cannot comment on when the school will receive CBSE affiliation. For already affiliated schools, we have a process wherein they have to declare information about teachers’ qualification and salaries. For schools that are yet not affiliated, the inspection committee visits the school and all aspects are physically verified.”

Rs 18,400
Original salary of one of the complainants

Rs 28,100
Salary as per CBSE regulations

Rs 9,700
Amount the complainant was forced to return to school

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