Skip to main content

Amidst Odisha govt 'mission' to close 6,340 schools, 21,000 teachers' posts lie vacant

By Anjan Pradhan*

Even though the Odisha government has reportedly been focusing on posting of teachers in all primary and secondary schools on priority, nearly 25 per cent elementary schools in the State botched to meet the teacher norms mandated under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, as per the Niti Aayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI) report 2019.
When there should be an embarking upon filling up the posts of teachers, which is crucial to impart quality education in the classroom, the state government is irrepressible in its mission to close 6,340 schools in the state.
The schools will be permanently closed where the strengths of children are less than 20 students, a notification issued in March by the State School and Mass Education department over implementation guidelines for the policy of rationalization and consolidation of schools has revealed.
Correspondingly, more than 21,000 teacher position in government-run schools at primary level is lying vacant, as per the report of the department, which is a causative factor for increased drop out or out-of-school rate among children, especially in rural Odisha.
This has indirectly contributed towards sharp rise in number of students opting for private schools in the state. As per the state government report, there were 5,088 private schools in 2014-15 in the state but it increased to 6,547 in 2017-18. This 17% rise indicates there is an avenue for them.
“Wide-ranging dearth of teachers has repugnantly contrived learning at government-run schools in Odisha. This has also disproportionately hit the education of underprivileged and poor children of the state,” said Ruchi Kashyap, executive trustee of the Atmashakti Trust, an NGO that works on education.
“In a state where thousands of government schools are being closed stating the reason of low-enrolment of children, the apathetic state of schools without required teachers will bereft children from their learning more,” added Kashyap.
The school closure/merger policy is also a breach of the fundamental spirit behind section 6 of the RTE Act, which stipulates that ‘for carrying out the provisions of this Act, the appropriate Government and the local authority shall establish, within such area or limits of the neighbourhood, as may be prescribed, a school, where it is not so established, within three years from the commencement of this Act.
RTE compliance is a cardinal parameter to assess the progress on provisioning to the implementation aspect of the Act. But even ten years after the Right to Education Act was enacted, Odisha still struggles to register success in the implementation of the law as elementary education in the state is still in a mess. 
One of the reasons that attributed to a low level of learning outcome among the children was due to the lack of required teachers in schools
A survey by the Unified District Information System of Education (UDISE) 2018 has found that less than 13% of schools across India are compliant with the RTE Act. But a report of National RTE Forum claims that only 6.6% schools of Odisha are complying RTE norms which is even less than the national average.

Learning outcome and role of teachers

In July, Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha (OSM) and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha (MSMO), two state-level people’s organization, undertook a survey of 2,851 school children of class III, Class V, and Class VIII, to assess the learning outcome of the children who study in government schools in 17 districts of Odisha.
The survey reports that out of 845 school students of class VIII, 48% were below the required standard in English subject. Similarly in mathematics, it was 45% among children. The learning level of class III and V of the state is also worrisome in the same way. Out of 1,088 students in Class V, 59% could not meet the expected class appropriate learning level in English, 53% in mathematics and 31% in Odia language.
One of the reasons that attributed to a low level of learning outcome among the children was due to the lack of required teachers in schools or the teacher absenteeism. The Niti Aayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI) report further revealed that Odisha scores an abysmal 30 per cent in the learning outcome domain indicator.
This shows how the role of teachers is key to impart quality education. Instead of implementing the rationalization policy where teachers from the closed schools will be shifted to the merged ones, to fill the pupils-teacher ratio gap, the state government should increase its education budget and focus on recruiting teachers as soon as possible to ensure provisioning of quality education.
---
*Convener, Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha

Comments

TRENDING

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Employment loss vis-a-vis pre-Covid situation 'neutralized', claim Govt of India data

By Arup Mitra, DPS Negi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav* The Labour Bureau, an attached office of the Ministry of Labour & Employment, has been entrusted with the task of conducting the All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES) which has two components namely Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) in respect of establishments employing 10 or more workers (mostly constituting ‘organised’ segment) and Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES) to build up a frame in respect of establishments employing nine or less workers.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Article 370 abrogation hasn't helped curb terrorist attacks: Kashmiri Pandit group

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Lt Governor, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the Valley, Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) president Sanjay K Tickoo has taken strong exception to what he calls" callous approach" shown by the administration and security agencies towards "non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits / Hindus living in Kashmir Valley".

India's weak fiscal position: Can higher gold reserves help stem further deterioration?

Counterview Desk  India Gold Policy Centre at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA), which has been researching on global gold markets working closely with the Government of India as as an advisor on various policy initiatives in several key areas relating to the use of gold as a fungible financial asset, has claimed that high levels of Central Bank gold reserves has had “positive implications for India.”

India's 55% firms perceive significant, sustained high-cost pressure: IIM-A survey

Costs per unit compare: % responses By Our Representative  A new Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) survey, involving responses from executives of around 1,200 companies across India, has said that the cost perceptions data indicates “sustained high-cost pressures”, with over 55% of the firms perceiving significant (over 6%) cost increase.