Monday, 30th October 2017

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Tripura stares at teacher crisis

Bulk retirements and stalled recruitment take toll on schools

By Our Special Correspondent in Agartala
  • Published 27.02.16

Agartala, Feb. 26: The Tripura school education department is facing a major crisis of teachers at all levels of schooling because of non-recruitment over the past three years.

The student-teacher ratio, as a result, is fast widening as more than 3,000 teachers, on an average, retire from service each year.

The deputy director of school education department, B.K. Acharya, said over the past three years, no recruitment has been made and that more than 4,500 teachers have retired from service during the same period.

"From the current year, more than 3,000 teachers, on an average, will retire from service annually and unless the vacancies are filled up, there will be a terrible crisis of teachers. Maintaining a proper student-teacher ratio in schools across the state will become a major problem," said Acharya.

By the end of 2020, the number of working teachers will come down to half of the present level.

Acharya said till November 26 last year, the number of vacant posts in primary schools was 2,355 while the shortage of graduate teachers in the senior basic schools (class VI to class VIII) was 1,941 till December 22 last year. The shortage of teachers in high schools (class IX to class X) was 2,473 while at the higher secondary level it was more than 1,500 during the same period.

"The trouble is with the retirement of teachers every month, the gap is widening. We urgently need bulk recruitment of teachers for all levels of schooling," said Acharya.

He said the state government had last recruited over 5,000 graduate teachers and 1,100 post-graduate teachers for high schools and higher secondary schools in 2010 while another 6,000 primary school teachers were recruited in 2012.

But a case filed in the high court by disgruntled youths deprived of recruitment had led to the cancellation of the entire bulk of appointments in spite of the state government getting a stay in the Supreme Court.

"But the case is still on. Besides, strict stipulations made by the new education policy, 2009, regarding the percentage of marks obtained by applicants and compulsory teacher's training certificates have made things very difficult for the state government.

Recently, a teacher's eligibility test (TET) was held for the recruitment of primary school teachers but there were very few suitable candidates because of the stipulations on compulsory teacher's training and the percentage of marks obtained. So it is a complicated situation," said Acharya.

He admitted that teacher absenteeism in the interior areas of the state was also a major problem because, despite formal transfer, many teachers stayed away or recruited proxy teachers in lieu of limited monthly payment.

"These problems, not so acute after the end of insurgency, are being addressed. But maintaining 6,556 primary and senior basic schools and around 4,023 high and higher secondary schools was proving to be difficult because of the new education policy stipulations," said Acharya.

He also pointed out that 5,802 teachers working for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would also go down to half because of superannuation of many of them unless fresh recruitments are made.

He, however, added that the department of school education was trying to have the matter sorted out as early as possible.