LODHRAN-The owners of 209 schools working under the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) are violating the Punjab Private Education Commission Act 2012 especially by exploiting the teachers as they are paid very low salaries.

According to a survey conducted by The Nation, District Lodhran, that is considered a backward area with regard to education, has become a golden goose for the school owners. Those once used to ride a bicycle are found riding expensive cars and living a lavish life. The PEF school owners have become the "East India Company" exploiting the male and female teachers.

According to the data collected in the first phase of the survey of 87 schools, the male teachers are paid an average of Rs3,385 and female teachers Rs3,102 per month salaries while they have to work at least 48 hours a week. However, according to the government rules, an employee working 40 hours a week should at least be paid Rs14,000 while health facilities are also provided along with it. The teachers who are paid less than Rs4,000 a month in PEF schools are not provided with medical coverage.

A teacher said that they are not paid salaries on time nor paid during the summer vacation. If a teacher complains of late salary or deduction, he/she is threatened to be fired, she added. The owners of PEF schools in Lodhran have established a pool; if a teacher is fired from one school, he/she is not hired by the other PEF school, she said.

in violation of the Punjab Private Education Commission Act 2012 in Lodhran, there is no proof of transferring of salaries to the bank accounts of teachers. However, some of the PEF School owners have shown their relatives as teachers and transfer the salaries to the ghost teachers’ accounts so as to maintain the record.

According to clause 22(3) of the Punjab Private Education Commission Act 2012, all private schools are bound to transfer the salaries either through cross cheque or online account; 4th clause of the same act states that owners are also bound to provide all facilities which they deserve according to other rules. Moreover, 31st clause of the same act states that school owners which are found doing injustice to the teachers can be fined up to Rs1 million. Not to speak of fine, even a single school has never been served the show-cause notice for the rules violations, she concluded.