ARCHDIOCESAN PRIMARY SCHOOLS TO GIVE SENIORITY SCALE
In the name of the Archdiocese, on Teachers’ Day, I wish to express my appreciation for all that the teachers do to prepare our young students for the future as good citizens of our country. Theirs is a difficult job, coping with a big number of students, a demanding curriculum and so on. They carry on this task valiantly day after day. While we are always grateful to them, Teachers’ Day is an opportune occasion to express our gratitude to them.
One of the issues that has been very much on my mind has been the question of a just remuneration to our teachers. Even though as private institutions we are not bound to pay government scales, we voluntarily decided to pay as per the government regulations. Most of our Primary Schools are unaided and many students are on the poorer side and we have to think also of the parents who have to meet the cost of educating their children.
In spite of all these difficulties, we have, as far as we could, abided by the Government pay scales and the periodic rises which the Government authorities enjoin. Thus at present, we have instructed all our Schools which come under the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), to pay the teachers’ salaries as per the 6th Pay Commission and the D.A. which is at present is at the rate of 113%. If any particular school, because of financial constraints, cannot pay, it has the duty to explain its difficulty to its teachers. In actual fact, barring a few exceptions, all the ABE schools are paying as per the Government rules.
A particular point in question is the Seniority Scale of teachers: after 12 years of service, subject to certain conditions, the teachers can go on a higher grade, a Seniority Grade. After examining the financial implications of this and having taken counsel from my advisors, I have decided that our ABE primary schools will go in for the Seniority Scale, keeping to the conditions laid down by the government.
The conditions laid down by the Government are: First, that the person applying for Seniority Scale be a trained teacher. Secondly, that the teacher has a satisfactory service record. Thirdly, that the teacher goes through a three-week refresher course. The Seniority Scale will start from November 1, 2015. We are temporarily waiving aside the third requirement that the teachers go through a refresher course before availing of the Seniority Scale. From November 1, the Seniority Scale will be paid to all those teachers who fulfil the other two requirements and give an undertaking that they will do the course by December 31, 2016.
To make it easier for our teachers, the ABE has decided to itself organize three refresher courses during the 2015 Diwali vacation, 2016 Summer vacation and 2016 Diwali vacation. If a particular teacher does not complete the course by December 31, 2016, his or her Seniority Scale will be terminated.
This will apply to all ABE schools. Any school which, because of financial constraints, cannot pay the Seniority Scale will explain to the teachers its difficulty and, with the help of the teachers, seek to raise the resources needed.
Given at Archbishop’s House, September 4, 2015
+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay