Friday, January 19, 2018 | ePaper

Teachers' shortage impeding primary education

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TEACHERS' shortage in primary schools is creating big setback to our education system at the lower tier overshadowing the preparedness of students in subsequent stages. Media reports said over 21,000 posts of head teachers, 32,000 assistant head teachers and 53,000 staff teachers in government-run primary schools are now vacant just to show how indifferent are the authorities concerned to properly run our primary schools.

The shortage of teachers is forcing existing teaching staff to become overstretch to take more classes applying less attention in teaching. Many staff teachers are also working as acting head teachers in some schools to suggest that they are taking fewer classes and all that suggest a big mismatch to properly run teaching at primary schools. The situation is brewing indiscipline at all levels leaving most lessons incomplete while compromising the quality of teaching in the first place.

We can't say we have budget shortage or shortage of educated manpower to give appointment to vacant posts. In fact circulars  were issued in many cases to appoint new teachers but as the recruitment system is highly politicized required breakthrough is not taking place in hiring new teachers. Nonetheless, the government has recruited 1.45 lakh teachers over the past seven years but massive retirement is not allowing the number to become enough. Moreover during recruitment a candidate has to pay bribes to qualify or confirm appointment slowing down the entire process. Money must pass hands at every level making teachers recruitment really difficult. Many however blame shortage of budgetary allocations to hire new teachers but such allegation does not hold ground given the extent of corruption and misuse of funds in our primary education system and beyond.

As per the Minister responsible for primary and mass education the country has around 63,000 state-run primary schools where more than 3.22 lakh teachers are teaching 2.19 crore students. Educationists have long pointing out that teachers-students ratio is too big and moreover so many vacant posts is creating big impediments to run those schools. This is not acceptable that so many posts have been left vacant over so much times taking our primary education literally hostage to mismanagement and poor attention of the government.

In fact bulk retirement without quick replacement has resulted in shortage of teachers. In our view the primary education system needs enough teachers and also trained teachers to build students properly. We have enough unemployed graduates capable to make good teachers. The government must recruit enough number of teachers and there can't be blame on shortage of fund. 

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