Image for representational purpose. Credit: The Indian Express
Lucknow: There is an acute shortage of teachers in government-run primary, upper primary and composite schools in Uttar Pradesh, despite the guidelines on the teacher-to-student ratio issued under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) of 2009.
The new academic session of Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board schools is about to begin next month (April 1) but about 51,000 posts of assistant teachers are lying vacant in the government schools teaching classes I to VIII (primary and upper-primary) in the state, basic education minister Sandeep Singh confirmed in the state Assembly recently. However, Singh indicated that there will be no fresh recruitment drive for teaching jobs.
Responding to a question asked by a Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA in the ongoing monsoon session of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh, Singh, responsible for basic shiksha, said that under the recruitment process of 69,000 assistant teachers, a total of 6,696 candidates were posted in different districts in 20 months from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022.
“Presently, the basic education department is carrying out two recruitment drives. However, the recruitment drives are affected as cases against it are pending in courts. We will proceed with the recruitment drives according to the orders of the courts. Hence, at present there is no proposal under consideration regarding the creation of new posts for Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) passed candidates and conduct of teacher recruitment examination,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, in response to a question on the vacant posts of teachers in schools teaching Classes IX to XII, managed by Uttar Pradesh’s secondary education department, secondary education minister Gulab Devi said that 33,000 posts of lecturers and headmasters are lying vacant in 2,373 government and 4,512 non-government, aided secondary schools in the state.
The minister informed the state Assembly that information regarding vacant posts of teachers has been sent to Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Service Selection Board (UPSESSB), Prayagraj. The process of appointment will start after the secondary education board will receive the list of candidates from UPSESSB, she said.
Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM) accused Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of telling lies on the floor of the house. He said, “The government does not consider shiksha mitras (ad-hoc teachers) and anudeshak (instructor) teachers, but when it comes to showing the figure of teachers available as per the Right to Education (RTE) norms, the government considers them teacher and claims that they have an adequate number of teachers in the school. On the other hand, the same education minister, on the same floor of the Assembly, also accepted that 51,112 posts of assistant teachers are lying vacant in the government primary and upper-primary schools. Meanwhile, around 33,000 posts of lecturers and headmasters are lying vacant in government secondary schools and non-government aided secondary schools,” Mishra told NewsClick.
This acute shortage has forced teachers to carry out the responsibility of teaching all subjects — from English to Mathematics and from Science to Social Studies. They also supervise mid-day meal preparations and oversee transfer of money to the bank accounts of parents through direct benefit transfer for free school uniforms, books, shoes and socks. These teachers even have to undertake household surveys due to a lack of staff.
The Right to Free and Compulsory Child Education Act 2009 (RTE Act), mandates a pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of 30:1 in primary schools and 35:1 in upper primary schools.
Pointing out the shortage of teachers, he said, “There should be one teacher per 30 students in primary school and 35 in upper primary school. There are 1.92 crore students enrolled in state-run schools from class I to VIII. According to this, more than 1 lakh posts of teachers should be vacant, but the government accepted only 51,112 posts as vacant. Therefore, the children are not getting a quality education.”
According to the government data, there are around 5,000-7,000 government and aided schools which are either closed in the absence of teachers or have only one teacher, claimed Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh.
“The schools which are closed due to lack of teachers or are being run by a single teacher, what education is being provided there? Why doesn’t the government tell about this in the Assembly?” asked Mishra.
Shiv Kumar Shukla, the president of Uttar Pradesh Prathmik Shiksha Mitra Sangh, told NewsClick, “The delay in filling up the vacant posts of teachers in government schools and colleges is overburdening the available teachers. On the other hand, the enrolled students are not receiving quality education. Filling vacant teachers’ positions should be the government’s priority.”
The shortage of teachers in primary, secondary as well as higher education has left the education sector severely crippled.