Despite guidelines on the teacher-to-student ratio issued under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) of 2009, there is an acute shortage of teachers in government-run primary, upper primary, and composite schools in Uttar Pradesh.
Ahead of the new academic session of Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board schools beginning next month (April 1), Basic Education Minister Sandeep Singh recently confirmed on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha that almost 51,000 posts of assistant teachers are lying vacant in the government schools teaching classes I to VIII (primary and upper-primary) in the state.
However, Singh also indicated that there will be no fresh recruitment drive for teaching jobs.
Responding to a question in the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh, Singh said that under the recruitment process for 69,000 assistant teachers, a total of 6,696 candidates were posted in different districts from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022.
“Presently, the basic education department is carrying out two recruitment drives. However, the recruitment drives are affected as cases against them are pending in court. We will proceed with the recruitment drives according to the orders of the courts. Hence, at present, there is no proposal under consideration regarding the creation of new posts for Teachers Eligibility Test (TET)-passed candidates and the conduct of teacher recruitment examinations,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, secondary education minister Gulab Devi informed the state Assembly that 33,000 posts of lecturers and headmasters are lying vacant in 2,373 government and 4,512 non-government-aided secondary schools in the state.
This acute shortage has forced teachers to carry out the responsibility of teaching all subjects, supervising mid-day meal preparations, overseeing the transfer of money to the bank accounts of parents through direct benefit transfer for free school uniforms, books, shoes, and socks, and even undertaking household surveys due to a lack of staff.
The Right to Free and Compulsory Child Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) mandates a pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of 30:1 in primary schools and 35:1 in upper primary schools. However, there are only 1 lakh posts of teachers in the state, while there should be more than 1 lakh vacant posts according to this ratio.
According to government data, there are around 5,000–7,000 government and aided schools that are either closed in the absence of teachers or have only one teacher.
The education sector is facing a severe crisis due to the shortage of teachers in primary, secondary, and higher education. It is imperative for the government to prioritize filling vacant teaching positions.
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