Where have all the teachers gone?
By Preeti Jha, Express India, June 29, 2008 at 10:24:19
New Delhi, June 28 8000 ‘missing’ in govt schools
Over 8,000 teaching posts lie vacant in government schools across the Capital, an application filed under the Right To Information (RTI) Act has found.
And the vast majority of vacancies, says the response to the RTI filed this March by retired government school principal Jai Bhagwan Gupta, are for Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) — up until February 27, 6,379 TGT posts lay vacant. An official at the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) said the number is closer to 7000 today.
Assistant teacher’s posts, mainly required for primary classes, form another bulk of vacancies: of 3,677 posts sanctioned, 1,258 was vacant as per DoE records on February 4.
Director of Education Sandeep Kumar said: “Vacancy and recruitment is a continuous process. Teachers retire every month, (so) vacancies will be there. We are focusing on how to bridge the gap as fast as possible.”
But Gupta shot back: “If recruitment is an ongoing process why have there been vacancies for so many years? Why isn’t there any foreword planning to fill posts emptied by those who retire?”
Guest teachers, Kumar said, are a temporary measure to fill this. But even that fails to meet the shortage. A subsequent RTI application filed by Gupta found 832 guest teachers work in government schools. The Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), which spearheads recruitment for government jobs, advertised for 2,747 teaching positions, mostly TGTs, last year following a requisition from the DoE. Their recruitment examinations were completed only last month.
“We advertise exams as per requirement of teachers we receive from
DoE,” said K C Surender, Deputy Secretary (Exams), DSSSB.
The Board’s figures show Sanskrit teachers are in greatest demand, with 352 female and 478 male posts lying vacant. Vacancies for TGTs in Maths, English and Hindi are also high, numbering 336, 317 and 292 respectively.
In past years DSSSB has failed to recommend as many teachers as there are vacancies. Surender said the reason was poor-quality candidates and DSSSB’s rigorous testing. “But candidates are improving now,” he said.
One reason government schools face especially a shortage of language teachers is the DoE’s dated recruitment rules, Indra Behl, Deputy Secretary (CC-I) at DSSSB, said. “TGTs are required to have an elective in the language they wish to teach,” she said. “But there’s no elective option in most BEd courses in Delhi, which puts many at immediate disadvantage. These rules are now under revision.”