Teacher rejig pangs for merged schools

Teacher rejig pangs for merged schools

RATIO TROUBLE: Teachers of Adarsh Madhya Vidyalaya in Ghatshila
Jamshedpur: Many villages of East Singhbhum, forced to accept the state government diktat of merging small schools up to Class VIII with big ones in line with Niti Aayog recommendations earlier this year, are now up in arms again over skewed student-teacher ratio arising from this move.
Though counselling for 436 teachers before shifting them to schools with more students post-merger, began with 198 teachers at Utkal Samaj in Jamshedpur on Tuesday, many East Singhbhum villagers as well as rural teachers are pointing out the growing mess in the system.
Due to the merger, students from small schools that closed down had to go to bigger schools. Teachers had to be shifted to schools with a sudden spurt in student numbers. Both developments skewed teacher-student ratio in many schools, violating the teacher-student ratio under the Right to Education Act. Under the Act, till Class V, there must be one teacher for 30 students and from Classes VI to VIII, one for every 35 students.
Around 50 villagers from Jahatu in Potka block of East Singhbhum, 45km from Jamshedpur, submitted a memo to the East Singhbhum DC Amit Kumar on Monday, saying the district education department did not distribute teachers properly after 393 schools in the entire district were merged/downgraded.
The delegation pointed out that Jahatu Upgraded High School in Potka block had two government teachers and two para-teachers for 79 students from Claases 1 to 5, but from Tuesday onwards would have to run with only one para-teacher. Two government teachers and one para-teacher had been sent to some other school, they said. The school has 190 students in Classes VI to VIII and three teachers, while Classes IX and X with 402 students with no teachers at all, they pointed out.
Another school, Adarsh Madhya Vidyalaya in Ghatshila, 35km from Jamshedpur, where three schools were merged and the existing school has 506 students have nine teachers. Six of their teachers have been sent to other schools "as a temporary measure", according to an education department directive.
Teacher of Adarsh Madhya Vidyalaya Uttam Kumar Das said they told a Niti Aayog team that had come for inspection in April-end that they needed two science teachers. "We didn't get science teachers but six of our existing teachers were transferred. Now, teacher-student ratio stands at 56:1, flouting all norms under Right to Education Act," Das said.
Secretary of Jharkhand Prathamik Shikshak Sangh, Nikhil Mandal, called the whole system a "mess". "In this teacher rejig, many graduate teachers have been asked to teach students of lower class without the pay scale they are entitled to," he pointed out.
District superintendent of education (DSE) Banke Bihari Singh claimed they made villagers understand that "rationalisation of teachers was temporary" till the government recruited new teachers. "The aim behind rationalisation of teachers is giving all schools a fair chance. Teachers had to be shifted from schools that had enough staff to those institutions that had none at all. We (the government) cannot think about just one school among thousands. The problem will end with teacher recruitment," said Singh.


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