Gujarat short of more than 13,000 primary teachers

Ahmedabad:  Amid frequent allegations by Congress about deteriorating quality of education in Gujarat due to lack of teachers, the state government has admitted a shortfall of more than 13,000 teachers in the state-run primary schools. As per the data tabled by the government in the Gujarat Assembly recently, a total of 1,67,461 primary school teachers are working against the total sanctioned strength of 1,80,601
teachers across the state.

These figures indicate 13,140 posts of primary teachers are still lying vacant in the state. The district-wise data has revealed that remote districts of Kutch and Banaskantha followed by tribal districts of Panchmahal and Dahod are the worst hit in terms of vacant posts of primary teachers.

In Kutch, 2,724 posts are lying vacant while 1,741 posts are not filled up in Banaskantha. These districts were followed by Panchmahal, where 935 posts are vacant, and Dahod, where 912 teachers are not recruited yet.

As per another set of data tabled in the Assembly by the BJP-led state government, there is a shortfall of more than 2,400 teachers of mathematics and science subjects in upper primary schools (6 to 8 standard).

The data suggested that the government is yet to recruit 2,413 teachers who can teach maths and science subjects in government-run upper primary schools across the state. Banaskantha once again topped the charts with a shortfall of 404 teachers for the above subjects, followed by Panchmahal (382), Ahmedabad (230) and Dahod (203).

The issue of vacant posts of primary teachers has been raised several times by Congress in and outside the Assembly, as the Opposition alleged that the government was not doing enough in this regard. While replying to a query in the House recently, Minister of State for Education, Nanu Vanani assured that though the government was facing difficulties in finding suitable candidates, these posts will be filled up at the earliest.

The deteriorating level of primary education due to lack of teachers was corroborated with another revelation by the government in the House. While replying to a query raised by Congress MLA Tejashree Patel about the outcome of ‘Gunotsav’ program for
the evaluation of primary schools, the state government admitted that they have found more than 11,000 schools to be in the category of ‘poor’ and more than 2,000 in the category of ‘very poor’.

As per the latest Socio Economic Review tabled in the ongoing budget session of the Assembly recently, the state government has been organising ‘Gunotsav’ program since last five years with a special focus on improving the quality of education in the state.

Under this annual program, ministers and high-ranked officers of all the departments are sent to primary schools of different regions of the state for evaluation. In 2016,
teachers and students were evaluated in 32,842 schools, stated the review.

While replying to the query raised by Patel, the state government said in a written reply that a total of 11,822 primary schools were found to be ‘poor’ while 2,373 schools
were found to be ‘very poor’ in the evaluation done in five Gunotsav programs held till 2015.

The government claimed that it has been taking various corrective measures to improve the situation. As per the written reply, remedial classes, which are in addition to regular ones, are organised in these schools. Further, brain-storming sessions of teachers of such schools are organised as part of the corrective measures, the
government added.

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