Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Education scenario in state bleak: Report

PATNA: Bihar needs nearly twice the number of teachers currently in service to achieve the national pupil teacher ratio (PTR) and the RTE (right to education) norm of 30:1. In fact, only 16% teachers at the panchayat level are trained. Around 60,000 schools in the state do not have a permanent campus and not even 3% of the school management committees (SMCs) are actively involved in planning and development work.

According to a survey on 'Implementation of RTE Act in Bihar', conducted in 375 schools of Bihar by State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and UNICEF, the education scenario of the state is not rosy. The survey further reveals that student classroom ratio (SCR) across schools in Bihar was 82, much higher than the all India figure of 30:1. And, students' attendance at schools stood at almost 63% only.

The survey report was tabled on Tuesday in the presence of the state education minister, P K Shahi, who admitted that education sector had a number of shortcomings. But, according to him, several significant steps have been taken by the government in the last two years for the implementation of RTE. "Enrolment of girls in Bihar is higher than that of boys at 51.35%. Nearly 1.42 lakh additional classrooms are required and we have built over 3,000 classrooms in the last four months. Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme is implemented in nearly 83% of the schools," said Shahi.

However, the education department is likely to appoint nearly 95,000 teachers by November and, thus, bring down the PTR that currently stands at 57:1. "Since many prospective teachers have not cleared the TET, we are unable to fill all the vacant posts. We are thinking about how to fill these vacancies," said Amarjeet Sinha, principal secretary of the department.

In fact, in the wake of Saran midday meal tragedy, Sinha said separate funds would be routed to SMCs for maintaining cleanliness of toilets and kitchen sheds. The department has also devised a six-month enrichment programme for training teachers who are in service. "The first batch of 34,000 teachers would soon get certification from NCTE and the second batch of 66,000 teachers would start training under the programme from September 5," he said.

The report adds that much is desired for infrastructure development, training of teachers and devising suitable pedagogy, constitution of SMCs, and creating a child-friendly educational environment in the schools. Cleanliness of toilets and kitchen sheds is also a central issue.

In fact, state project director of Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) Rahul Singh said, "If the government is not giving affiliation to private schools for lack of infrastructure, government schools should also be judged on the same parameters, or else norms should be relaxed for private schools as well."

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