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Thursday, August 18, 2022

PM Modi’s suggestion to curb proxy teachers in village schools: Photos of permanent ones in classrooms

According to a UNESCO report released in 2021, there are nearly 1.2 lakh single-teacher schools in the country, of which an overwhelming 89 per cent are in rural areas.

The PMO is learnt to have directed the Education Ministry to ensure that the action plan formulated by PM Modi is implemented “quickly” to improve the country’s pupil-teacher ratio (PTR).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged the issue of proxy teachers in village schools at a recent conference, suggesting that states try to curb the occurrence by placing photographs of permanent teachers in classrooms, it is learnt.

He also suggested campus recruitment drives in teacher training institutes and getting private schools to adopt schools in remote areas during the national conference of chief secretaries, held in Dharamshala on June 16-17, The Indian Express has learnt.

The PMO is learnt to have directed the Education Ministry to ensure that the action plan formulated by him is implemented “quickly” to improve the country’s pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), which, in states like Bihar and Jharkhand, remain below the standards set by the Right to Education Act, 2009.

At the conference in Dharamshala, the implementation of the National Education Policy-2020 was one of the key items on the agenda.

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On school education, the PM made broadly 20 suggestions at the conference, where top officials of the Education Ministry were also present, a source said. “He began his remarks by referring to the issue of proxy teachers, especially in village schools. He suggested that placing photographs of teachers in every classroom, which some states like Rajasthan have experimented with, can be replicated elsewhere,” an official said.

Explained

Proxy teachers a major issue

In 2018, a World Bank report on India had highlighted the problem of proxy teachers, where teachers employed by the government illegally send others to teach on their behalf. It is a major issue in the Northeast, particularly in Nagaland, according to Education Ministry officials.

In 2018, a World Bank report on India had highlighted the problem of proxy teachers, where teachers employed by the government illegally send others to teach on their behalf. It is a major issue in the Northeast, particularly in Nagaland, according to Education Ministry officials.

In teacher recruitment, the PM suggested that states and Union Territories explore the model followed by government as well as private companies in carrying out hiring of final year engineering graduates from campuses across the country. “The PM strongly suggested that campus recruitment drives can be done in teachers training institutes as well,” the official said, seeking anonymity.

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According to the RTE Act, at the primary level, there should be at least one teacher per 30 students, while the ratio should be 35:1 at the upper primary level. But the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) report 2020-21 shows many states are yet to achieve the desired levels.

For instance, in Bihar, the PTR at the primary level is 57:1 and 60:1 at the higher secondary level; 30:1 and 55:1 in Jharkhand. Education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution and the recruitment of school teachers comes under the purview of states and UTs.

In response to a question in the Lok Sabha, the Centre had said in August 2021 that Bihar has 66 per cent government schools with an adverse PTR, followed by Jharkhand (52 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (37 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (35.51 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (33.56 per cent).

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To improve the standards of school education in remote areas, the PM also suggested officially implementing the practice of private schools adopting schools in remote areas by following a CSR model. “The PM said that the idea is to launch student and teacher exchange programmes under the model to enhance exposure,” the official said.

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The PM also pitched a similar exchange programme model for anganwadis and schools located close to each other to prepare pre-school students for formal schooling. Another highlight of the PM’s action plan is to do away with single teacher schools in the country, this official added.

According to a UNESCO report released in 2021, there are nearly 1.2 lakh single-teacher schools in the country, of which an overwhelming 89 per cent are in rural areas.

“States with a high percentage of single-teacher schools include Arunachal Pradesh (18.22 per cent), Goa (16.08 per cent), Telangana (15.71 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (14.4 per cent), Jharkhand (13.81 per cent), Uttarakhand (13.64 per cent), Madhya Pradesh ( 13.08 per cent), Rajasthan (10.08 per cent),” the UNESCO report states.

First published on: 04-07-2022 at 02:18:16 am
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