Thursday, June 26, 2014

Teacher shortage blow to RTE rules

Teacher shortage blow to RTE rules

BHUBANESWAR: Acute shortage of teachers in state schools has become a serious impediment in the implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) in Odisha.

As many as 50,000 posts of teachers are vacant in elementary schools alone, according to a survey conducted by Odisha RTE Forum, a voluntary organization.

The survey also revealed that 46% schools have only one to two teachers, while 16% primary schools and 62% upper primary schools don't have full-time qualified teachers.

"There is no direct recruitment of regular teachers in the state. The government has instead been recruiting contractual teachers to address the problem. Past experience showed contractual teachers lose interest as they are paid far less than regular teachers but are asked to perform the same amount of work," said the convener of Odisha RTE Forum, Anil Pradhan.

The schools in the state also don't meet the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) as prescribed in the RTE Act, the survey revealed. As many as 44% schools up to 120 students don't meet the RTE norm, while 74% schools having over 200 students don't adhere to the rules.

According to RTE norms the PTR in primary schools has been fixed at 40 and if the classroom strength exceeds 200, while PTR has been kept as 35 if the classroom strength exceeds 105.

The survey further pointed out that in 67% schools, one or more teachers were found engaged in non-academic activities like panchayat to parliamentary elections, census, and relief work during disasters. This indicated that children in private schools read everyday, while classes in government schools get interrupted, the report said.

In a consultation meet with legislatures and academics here on Sunday, the forum discussed the issues and steps to be taken immediately.

Several MLAs, including Priyadarshi Mishra, Basant Panda, Prafulla Majhi, Pradeep Purohit, Laxman Munda and Anubhav Patnaik took part in the consultation.

"In most schools, there is either no involvement of parents in school management, which is leading to such problems. The government must take steps to bring school dropouts and migrant children to school," said Nuapada MLA, Basant Panda.

Bhubaneswar North MLA Priyadarshi Mishra said, "The state government should come up with community schools that will help children to sharpen vocational skills."

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