New Delhi: A
shortage of nearly a million teachers is affecting implementation
of the Right to Education Act in India. Compounding this is the
lack of government-run training institutes which forces aspirants
to go to private insitutions, with the result that just a fraction
manage to clear the eligibility test.
The Right to Education Act lays down strict guidelines on the
student-teacher ratio, as well as on training, according to which
the Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) should be 30:1 in primary classes
and 35:1 in upper primary classes.
According to a District Information System for Education (DISE)
report, in 2011-12 only 34.12 percent of primary school teachers
were graduates, while a meagre 17.05 percent teachers were
National convener of RTE Forum Ambarish Rai said the problem is
that there are no proper institutions for training teachers.
"There is a huge shortage of teachers, and the RTE mandates
appointing trained teachers to fill the gap by 2015. However, the
question is: Where will these teachers be trained," Rai asked
while speaking to IANS.
"Teachers' training has almost collapsed. Today, teachers'
training is being provided by private companies, but the teachers
trained by them are not even able to clear the teachers
qualification exam," he said.
In 2012, more than 99 percent of those who appeared for the
Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) failed the exam. The
competency test, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary
Education (CBSE), was taken by 795,000 aspirants last year.
Training of teachers is the mandate of The National Council for
Teacher Education (NCTE) formed in 1995. But the council could not
perform any impressive task in imparting teachers' training, says
Delhi University Department of Education professor Krishan Kumar.
"Teachers' training has become an ill sector. The training
institutes are in ICU, it is like a situation of helplessness,"
Krishan Kumar told IANS.
He said the status of a teacher has been degraded with many north
Indian states hiring ill-trained teachers on contract, as adhoc or
"In the entire Hindi belt, there is a new phenomena of hiring para-teachers.
There is a massive movement going on with teachers across states
agitating and protesting on issues like regularisation of jobs and
better salaries, but it is not being highlighted by the media.
North India has forgotten its teachers," Krishna Kumar said.
The appointment of lower-paid contract teachers is leading to
attrition of talent from the field, he added.
A sample survey by NGO Right to Education Forum revealed that para-teachers
now constitute a major chunk in many states.
In Bihar, 50 percent of schools have para-teachers, in Andhra
Pradesh the figure is 44 percent and in Jharkhand it is 37
percent. Karnataka (28 percent), Uttar Pradesh (23 percent) and
West Bengal (21 percent) also have a large number of para-teachers.
The study also says that one out of 10 teachers are sub-contract
or proxy teachers who come in place of government-appointed
teachers by bypassing the selection process and with no vetting of
These proxy teachers constitute a substantial chunk in Himachal
Pradesh (15 percent), Jharkhand (12 percent), Manipur (9.4
percent), Tamil Nadu (9.6 percent), Karnataka (7.6 percent) and
Maharashtra (6 percent).
Experts say the only way to improve the situation is through
restructuring the training of teachers.
"There is need to regulate and evolve a methodology for teachers'
training," said Rai.
He said that recruitment was the second major issue dogging
implementation of the RTE as a large chunk of teachers were on
contract, while the RTE mandates appointing permanent teachers.
"We have disrespected the teachers' profession. If we start making
teachers count the population for the census and work for
elections, we are degrading their status. Their dignity is
challenged," Rai added.
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