Addressing shortage of teachers Clubbing classes together
Education-this is what ought to be focused on by all concerned, especially after the Government launched the much hyped School Fagathansi Mission in 2020. And obviously the focus here ought to be on Government schools, which have of late been making it to the news for all the wrong reasons. So even as the Nation celebrated Teachers’ Day on September 5 to pay homage to the second President of India Dr S Radhakrishnan, came the report that students from Class I to Class VI have been clubbed together and taught in a single classroom by a lone teacher at Paoyi Government High School, Ukhrul. That this report came just a few days after students rose in protest against the acute shortage of teachers at Moirangpurel High School should be more than an indication that the Government will need to do much more than just rely on the School Fagathansi slogan. As Education Minister Th Basanta explained two days after the Moirangpurel High School story made it to the lead news in The Sangai Express, rationalisation of teachers posting would be finalised by October or next month and herein lies a tale. A tale that says that some Government schools are woefully under staff so much so that some schools have had to resort to clubbing students of different classes in one single classroom ! A poor reflection on the state of education in the State and this is a point which the Government better acknowledge. The news report on Paoyi Government High School came together with the report on Teachers’ Day at the said school, but that particular paragraph on the acute shortage of teachers was taken out and published as a different news story with a reason. The reason is to highlight the reality, a reality which is dogging some schools located in the hills and remote parts of the State. As the report said, there are 18 sanctioned teachers at Paoyi High School, but only 9 were posted there. To make matters worse, out of the 9 posted there, 6 have been transferred on utilisation while another one was recently transferred out of the school. The said school too is reported to be functioning under an in-charge Headmaster. To make up for the deficit, it is learnt that the village had employed three additional teachers ! Manipur is perhaps the only place in the country where villagers chip in to appoint teachers to make up for the shortage of teachers.
As the Education Minister himself admitted, many Government schools in the State just don’t have the required infrastructure and are dogged by shortage of teachers. As things stand today, altogether 6945 teaching posts and 235 non teaching posts are lying vacant and work is on to address the shortage of teachers. For good effect, the Minister took pains to point out that shortage of teachers is not a recent development and went at length to explain that the shortage of teachers is due to the failure to fill up vacant teaching posts since a decade back. Into its sixth year in office, it may not be practical or even fair to expect the BJP led Government to address the shortage of teachers in a jiffy, an issue which dates back more than a decade, but at least a beginning has to be made. Adequate focus should be given to school education and the first step towards this would be to fill up the vacant posts. This is the 21st century and there should be no business for any school to cry out for want of adequate number of teachers. This is where it becomes important to question what concrete steps have been taken so far to fill up the vacant posts ? If any step has been initiated then it would do good to spell this out to the public. Time to give more substance to the slogan ‘School Fagathansi’.