Teachers fired without pay, benefits

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 4:

Some 25 employees of Vicki Educational and Development Foundation (VEDFON), a non-governmental organisation running Daleki School at Ranibari in Kathmandu have complained that the foundation has closed its primary section and ‘illegally’ fired them without paying five months’ salary and benefits accumulated over a span of three years. “Closing the primary section has sent some 150 students back to the streets as they are not in a position to go to school,” one of the teachers said at a press conference organised here today. The teachers had sought the help of the District Education Office and the Social Welfare Council in filing a complaint on March 29 for taking action against the school.

As the concerned authorities did not responded to their request, they sought the help of the media in highlighting their plight. The press statement signed by some two dozen employees states that the school has been deducting income tax from all the staff members for the past four years which has not been submitted at the tax office. The release also claims that the crisis was invited by the higher officers of the organisation. Their allegation of misuse of funds raised for the underprivileged children has led to this crisis. According to them, the school receives three hundred dollars per child in aid from Spanish sponsors. The school inspector of the DEO, Kul Prasad Bhattarai, who looks after the schools at Samakhushi, said he was unable to respond to the complaint letter as he was very busy. Bhattarai said the school can also be closed if it has flouted the rules while being registered at the DEO. Tashi Dolma Sherpa, principal of Daleki School and vice-president of the board agreed that they were not provided salary and dues due to the financial crisis. However, she informed that 30 needy students were admitted to Catalunya School at Manamaiju which also runs under the same foundation.

“Even I have not been paid,” she said, adding, “The executive director, who is in Spain, had informed that there has been a positive development and the crisis would be solved soon.” She also clarified that the school had informed the teachers only 10 days in advance for fear that they might leave the school during examinations. As the teachers were not provided the due as promised on April 30, they have threatened to go to the District Administration Office or even to the court.