Teachers spend only 19.1 per cent time teaching: NUEPA report

September 25, 2018

According to a report titled ‘Involvement of Teachers in Non-teaching Activities and its Effect on Education’ released recently, government school teachers in the country spend only 19.1 per cent of their working hours in teaching. The remaining hours are devoted to election duties, pulse polio campaigns and maintaining mid-day meal registers.

The startling findings were released after a study conducted in select states by the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The states covered were Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa and Uttarakhand.

According to the report, only 19.1 per cent of a teacher’s annual school hours is spent on teaching activities. Of the remaining 81 percent, 42.6 percent of the teacher’s time is spent in non-teaching core activities, 31.8 percent in non-teaching school-related activities and 6.5 per cent on other department activities.

Realising the grim reality, in 2017, the central government formed a committee to ensure that teachers are not assigned any non-academic work at the cost of their core responsibility. Besides, the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 specifies only census, disaster and election (only on polling and counting days) duty for teachers.

Commenting on the shocking facts revealed in the report, Chaitanya MRSK, Right to Education activist (RTE) said, “The drawback is that the government looks at these teachers as government employees. This attitude needs to change. We need to look at teachers in government schools as agents of social change. Yes, it is true that there is a lot of burden on the teachers to take up administrative work besides teaching. This does hamper their quality of teaching.”

“We need to look at the teachers as assets in nation building and invest in teacher training and improving the quality of teaching and not involve them in administrative work. I personally know of a lot of teachers who prefer working in private schools and not as Vidya volunteers because in the private sector the teachers are not involved in administrative work. Their sole focus is to improve their delivery and focus on the child’s growth,” he added.

N. Narayana, convener, Centre for Educational Research and Analysis, said, “The survey on teachers spending time on teaching revealed by NUEPA is partial fact. On an average a teacher has to attend election duties for at least five days. On other days, they are absent due to their entitled leaves and assigned duties. As per an estimate, in Telugu states, teachers attend schools around 160  out of 220 days and spending 80 per cent time for instruction,” he said.

In 2016, HRD Ministry decided that the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) should undertake a study to assess time spent by teachers in non-teaching activities and its adverse impact on education, said minister of state for HRD Upendra Kushwaha in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

He said that as per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, no teacher shall be deployed for any non-educational purpose other than decennial census, disaster relief duties or duties related to elections to the local authority or state legislatures or Parliament.

The NUEPA study recommends that at the national level, the Ministry of Human Resource Development should “consider to develop a definition for teaching and non-teaching activities.”

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