Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Edexlive
Ten schools in Molakalmuru taluk in Chitradurga district of North Karnataka, have been identified to be ‘zero teachers schools’. Schools from Malleharavi, Shirekola, Urthaal, Kelagina Kanive, S Hanumapura, Yarapota Jogihalli, Kappada Bammadehatti, Hosakote, Aenimegalahatti and Bhadrappa Thopu villages also have no teachers.
According to the report in the Kannada daily, Prajavani, there are 20 students in Malleharavi, 33 in Shirekola, 111 in Urthaal, 53 in Kelagina Kanive, 40 in S Hanumapura, 30 in Yarapota Jogihalli, 15 in Bammadehatti, 48 in Hoskote, 20 in Aenimegalahatti and 5 in Bhadrappa Thopu. The report also says that the parents of these students are demanding that the government act quickly and hire guest faculty in these schools till the teachers are appointed. For now, there are a few teachers assigned to visit these schools and teach.
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The lack of social and educational amenities in these villages is being cited as the reason for the teachers not willing to be posted in these schools.
A number of news reports have brought to attention that the government schools in Karnataka are dealing with shortage of teachers. There is a decline in the number of teachers appointed by the government over the years. According to a report in Deccan Herald, while the number of teachers approved for elementary schools in 2010-11 was 2,02,483, the number of employed teachers was 1,89,451. By 2017-18, the number was down to 1,90,558 and 1,66,943, respectively. This means more than 23,600 posts were lying vacant in 2017-18.
The data submitted by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in the last winter session in Lok Sabha showed that Karnataka stands sixth among the states in terms of number of single teacher schools. Four thousand seven hundred and sixty-six schools in Karnataka have only one teacher. As per the Right to Education Act (RTE), schools should have at least two teachers when the students’ strength is between one and 60.
According to a recent report in Vijaya Karnataka, the state has a deficit of 35,000 teachers in total. The government had advertised last year for appointing 10,000 teachers. However, only 3,000 were hired. The government is said to be advertising for 10,000 teachers yet again this year. It is said that this is due to the lack of efficient candidates applying for the posts.
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The dearth of teachers has a direct impact on the enrolment of students in the government schools, which has reduced significantly as compared to the private schools. The data with the Unified District Information System for Education shows that there is an increase in the number of private schools too. In 2014-15, the number of private unaided elementary schools in rural areas was 5,702 and in 2016-17, it had increased to 6,109. The student-classroom ratio in the government-aided elementary schools has been reducing over the years. In the government schools, it has been reduced, while in private aided schools, the ratio is increasing.
Even though as per the Economic Survey of Karnataka for the year 2018-2019, 89.29% and 75.37% of the sanctioned posts for teachers in government-aided lower primary schools and higher primary schools respectively were filled, it has to be noted that, not the whole of Karnataka enjoys a good Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR).
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