An issue which has been widely discussed but very little done is the continual lag of teacher to student ratio in the country. The situation is so pathetic that the statistics say that there are 1 lakh single teacher schools in India. Teaching is a very satisfying profession. There is a constant learning opportunity in the quest of keeping oneself updated. There is no denial of this. But Teaching as a profession is not only challenging but rigorous and tests one’s patience. The teachers, however, work relentlessly and find a way to solve the challenges thrown at them. Many teachers wake up past midnight to finish a class project. There still exist such teachers who go the extra mile buying books and stationery for students who could not afford it. Working overtime and Multi-tasking is nothing in front of the massive challenge faced by the education system. India has a dearth of not only a significant number of teachers but the quality of trained ones in this profession is also pathetic which is essential to handle children coming from various backgrounds.
While the national PTR which is Pupil-Teacher Ratio is comparable to other countries with similar socio-economic structures, the situation can certainly improve. The numbers are decent enough, but numbers do not portray the overall picture. A trip down to the various schools in rural areas will throw light to the deplorable condition of one teacher handling multiple classes.
A report submitted to parliament last year shows that there are more than 1Lakh single teacher schools in India were one teacher on board would teach all the enrolled students. To think that this is just the official number is more disheartening. While on the outset, the answer to this issue is recruiting more teachers, the solution is not so simple. A state-wise vacancies list shows that many states have a drastically low number of teachers when compared to others. As per the statistics, Bihar and Jharkhand are on the top of the list in the number of elementary teachers vacancies. The top 6 states and Union Territories with the most number of primary teachers in 2016 were:
1. Jharkhand (38.39%)
2. Bihar (34.37%)
3. Delhi (24.96%)
4. Punjab (23.39%)
5. Chandigarh (23.07%)
6. Uttar Pradesh (22.99%).
If we thought this is just the situation with Primary Teachers, The state of Secondary teachers is not satisfying either. India is short by more than 1 million teachers than the approved limit. The top 5 states and UTs with the most number of secondary school teacher vacancies in 2016 were
1. Uttar Pradesh (50.0%),
4. Tripura (34.15%),
5. Chhattisgarh (28.98%).
The total number of vacant posts was 907585 for elementary school teachers and was 106906 for secondary school teachers. This is the data as per government records, and the ground reality may be far horrifying.
In the recent TET exam for recruitment of teachers in Bihar, only 17 % applicants passed the exam. The AAP led government has briefed the Delhi High Court that it is short of about 27K teachers in the government school.This poses a grave question to how the government plans to fill the vacancies.