The Delhi Economic Survey tabled in Delhi Assembly last week stated that the number of total teachers in the national capital has decreased from 1,48,271 in 2016-17 to 1,47, 243 in 2017-18. Similarly, it also revealed a disturbing trend about the government schools which are operating with only 57 per cent regular teachers and a major chunk of responsibility now lies with the guest teachers.
An analysis of the data shows that out of total sanctioned posts of 15,046 Post Graduate Teachers, only 10,618 are filled. In case of Trained Graduate Teachers, out of 32,561 sanctioned strength, 16,738 posts were filled. Thus, out of 47,607 posts, 27,356 have been filled while 20,000 seats are still vacant. Even though the deficit was tried to be covered by employing 15,000 guest teachers, 5,000 teachers are completely missing from the scenario.
The deficit may not go well with the Delhi government which is aiming to build 12,748 new classrooms by the end of this year. The deficit of teachers is now reflecting in the learning skills of students, as majority of the students enrolled in Delhi government schools are finding it hard to score passing marks in their examinations. While only 46 per cent students in Class VI could attain 33 per cent marks in exams in 2018, the percentage of class VII students scoring passing marks remained at 53.58. Similarly, only 57.19 per cent students of Class VIII were promoted to next standard.
Also Read: Dropout Rate Continues to Plague Government Schools in Delhi
The students were also found to be struggling with reading grade appropriate texts. The number of students able to read their texts in Class VI, Class VII and Class VIII remained at 57 per cent, 65 per cent and 71.2 per cent, respectively.
This technical data may not be appealing, but it is clear that the crisis has started affecting teachers and their lives. Many teachers argue that they have been given additional duties to teach at schools, other than the one they are employed at. Thus, they are not able to concentrate on students and help them learn faster. Ashok Tiwari, a mentor at the Directorate of Education said that they have to devote extra time to execute their responsibilities and these duties cannot be given to guest teachers.
He said, "Yes, it is true that some teachers are given the responsibility to teach at other schools in case the said school does not have a single teacher for any particular subject. The arrangement is made by deputy directors so that both schools could be attended. But the real reason behind non-availability is that even guest teachers are not available for subjects like Physics, Chemistry or Biology. While they are getting Rs 20,000-25,000 in the government schools, they can earn over Rs 40,000 in public schools and coaching institutions.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Ajayveer Yadav, General Secretary of the Delhi Government Teachers’ Association who told NewsClick that the teachers have no other option but to abide by the orders even if they are not mentally prepared. He said that the schools run by Delhi government are operating with a very small number of teachers. He said, "As per the Right to Education Act, the student teacher ratio must be 35: 1, but currently it is much beyond the desired requirement. Against the sanctioned strength, only 31,000 teachers are currently working out of which 17,000 are guest teachers."
Replying to a question on the pressure faced by the teachers, Yadav said that the teachers are bound by their service rules. He said, "We cannot deny the orders. If we chose do to so, we may be shown the door."
See More: Is the Modi Government Playing With Future of Delhi's School Children?