Teachers' Day 2022 campaign: Former teachers of JNV get no monthly pension, say they feel 'humiliated in old age' – News9 LIVE

2022-09-05T10:52:24+05:30
Teachers have been single handedly responsible for lifting the standards of JNVs across the country. Image used for representation. (Photo credit: PTI)
Thirty-five years since its inception, the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti runs nearly 600 schools across the country. An autonomous organisation under the ministry of HRD, Government of India, the samiti manages these Vidyalayas to provide free residential schooling to meritorious but poor students. Today, the schools have nearly 15,000 employees, including about 6,000 personnel (teachers and other staff) who were hired before 2004, a year when the government shifted from contributory pension to regular pension under the National Pension Scheme for all new recruits. Teachers and staff who had been serving before 2004 have since been complaining about a lack of security in the profession. They feel as central government employees, they deserve to retire with a monthly pension and not a contributory benefit that is being awarded to them as a one-time payment.
On the occasion of Teachers’ Day 2022, News9 spoke with some JNV retired teachers to bring you their side of the story.

Teachers have been single handedly responsible for lifting the standards of JNVs across the country. “We have achieved a lot within a small passage of time and I am proud of it. The pass rate of NVS students is the highest in the country and the students do well in all national-level entrance tests. This is because of the sincere efforts that the teachers and other staff have put in. By robbing them of a pension we are only humiliating them in their old age,” said Yogendra Sharma, the president of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Employees Welfare Association.
The Navodaya schools have always been known for the performance of their students. This year, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) had the best pass percentage in both 10th and 12th. The pass percentage of JNV in class 12 was 98.93 per cent, while in class 10 was 99.71 per cent. Last year, the overall pass percentage for JNVs in CBSE Class 10 result was recorded at 99.99 per cent, while in Class 12, it was 99.94 per cent. The vidyalaya achieved tremendous success in AISSCE -2020 with 100 % first classes, 92% distinctions and a school average of 89.53. In 2019, 966 Navodaya Vidyalaya students cleared the JEE Advanced and 12,654 qualified NEET. In the engineering exam held in 2020, 26 out of 29 students from Puducherry’s Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti cleared the same. Aprameya Girish Hebbar from Karnataka topped the school with an all-India rank of 1562 in the JEE Advanced 2020 exam.
“Our students have put up brilliant performance round the year, every year. Even during the anomaly years due to the pandemic, students from JNV had shown grit and determination to excel in whatever competitive exam they took up. While most of the credit is due to these children who have managed to study against all odds, a lot of inspiration has been due to the teachers as well. I have taken up extra classes for my students when they didn’t understand a particular concept. Of course the class was free of cost for the students. I took it up because I saw it as my responsibility that my students fared well in the exams,” said Prithviraj Anand, a teacher who retired in 2018.

Despite being a central government organisation, the NVS does not pay regular monthly pension to those employees who joined before 2004. This has been contested by teachers pan India as they feel it leaves them with no money post retirement to lead a decent life. In 2021, 60 MPs from across parties wrote to the Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, urging him to implement regular pension under the Central Civil Services Rule, 1972, for NVS employees who joined before 2004.
When the National Pension Scheme was introduced in 2014, the NVS bureaucracy brought those employees who had joined before 2004 under the Contributory Provident Fund scheme although the normal pension option was available. After the association took up the issue with MPs and ministers and they wrote to Pokhriyal, the education ministry set up a committee under school education secretary Anita Karwal to examine the demand for pension. An official of the ministry said the committee had held a meeting where it supported the provision of regular pension. But its report is awaited.
The CPF being awarded to teachers from Navodaya vidyalayas has only added to their problems. Rakesh Ranjhan Jha retired in 2020 after having serving for 32 long years as a teacher at the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) schools. Upon retirement, Jha got a lump sum of Rs 16 lakh to fend for himself and the family. This is what he had to say. “The sum that I received under the CPF scheme is all I have as I was not given a pension. While in service, we don’t get enough money to make ends meet. I have not build a house of my own for my family. Whatever little savings I had was spent during my elder son’s marriage. I also have to look after higher studies for my daughter who is keen to pursue medicine as a career. There is no healthcare assistance too,” a dejected Jha told News9.
It is indeed a pitiable condition for NVS retirees especially those employees who joined service before 2004 and were shepherded into a Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) scheme that entails a one-time payment after retirement and offers no monthly pension. There are many like Jha who are suffering due to this scheme. Take the case of Manokamna Tiwar from Uttar Pradesh who also retired from the teaching profession in 2019. “I have taught the JNV schools for 34 years and yet have no monthly pension that I can draw. My son lost his job during the pandemic and it was left to me to manage household expenses. My savings have all been utilised for my children’s education. I have two weddings to take care of. I don’t know where this money is going to come from,” he said. Tiwari received a lump sum Rs 17 lakh for his contribution as a teacher in these schools.
Their travails offer a glimpse of the problems faced by retired JNV teachers in negotiating life after retirement. “What we ask of the government is not something that cannot be achieved. All teachers under the JNV schools must be considered for a monthly pension and that the contributory PF should be considered only as a one time payment not the only payment for these teachers who have spent their lives in teaching poor students. If they have inspired good performance of the schools, their retirement should be the state’s responsibility too,” says Sharma.

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