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India has 10 lakh teaching vacancies. India has 4 lakh excess teachers. Go figure

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The figures have confounded the government itself, and number-crunching is on to identify why there’s such a mismatch.

New Delhi: India has over 10 lakh teaching vacancies at the school level, the ministry of human resource development has informed Parliament.

India has four lakh excess teachers at the school level, an internal survey by the ministry has concluded.

Confused? You’re not alone; the government is confounded too. Senior officials in the ministry are scratching their heads and “examining the numbers” to see how two such contradictory figures have been arrived at within the same week, though the expected answer is the usual suspect — bureaucratic muddling.


According to data provided by minister of state for HRD, Upendra Kushwaha, in the Lok Sabha, as of 30 July, 2018, there are 9,00,316 vacancies in elementary schools. In secondary schools, there are 1,07,689 vacant posts.

The state with the most vacancies is Uttar Pradesh, followed by Bihar. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal also figure at the wrong end of the list.

The data shows that there are some places where there are just one or two teachers in a school, while there are others where there’s an excess of them.

Also read: Haryana wants to ‘befriend’ English, will teach primary students one sentence a day

Another factor that has affected these numbers is the move to close and merge schools with small enrolments. The Centre doesn’t have the corrected data for how many schools have been merged, and how the move has affected teaching vacancies, which has led to the “skewed” numbers, a senior official told ThePrint.

At some places, teachers are appointed not in schools, but elsewhere, such as in state directorates of education. The official said the government was aware that some teachers use their connections and get postings at the directorates instead of going to teach at a faraway school.

“Teachers are posted in places where they are not needed. For example, we found 2,000 teachers in a state directorate of education. They are taking a teacher’s salary from the government but doing non-teaching jobs at the directorate. This creates the vacancy,” the official said.


Then comes the contradictory figure of four lakh excess figures, found by an internal ministry survey.

The official explained: “As per our analysis, the student-teacher ratio in the country is 1:24, which is far better than the 1:35 standard set for this ratio. So, looking at that ratio, we have found that there are four lakh teachers in surplus.”

Also read: To be happy, be an adult: The new lesson for children in Delhi schools

The above point about teachers getting appointments at directorates etc. has a bearing on this number too, since they still count as ‘teachers’ without doing any actual teaching.


While the government is examining this mismatch in its own figures, its first solution is to have more data. The HRD ministry will make it mandatory for states to diligently carry out a demand-supply analysis every year, which they’ve been neglecting.

The official said: “Every year, states should send a demand-supply analysis to the Centre, but they fail to do that, which is the reason so many vacancies are visible.”

Once this analysis is complete and the figures have been reconciled, the ministry plans to redeploy teachers accordingly.

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  1. Analysis is one way to get closer to the fact. The simple solution would be to dissociate Directorate appointments and teaching position appointments. Different non-crossable channels to seek these positions must be made. There must be competency exams for the teachers – that is – it is required to see if excellent teachers are continuing to teach. There must be greater incentives to continue as teachers by rewarding best teachers with different levels of teaching expertise with different increment rates/scales if necessary for instance. But such a thing would be unfair to others; for most people come to teaching as the last resort. I doubt if the vast majority of our Government School Teachers are competent teachers at all, if seen based on their subject specific knowledge and pedagogical requirements. On their bag of woes is many of them don’t seem to receive salaries in time. The adage in Telugu which says “batukaleka baDipantulu” [ the hopeless turns to teaching] is very apt for teachers. Several videos of teachers with abysmal knowledge are seen. While Whatsapp may not be a trustworthy medium at all such cases are not uncommon. And we do have excellence in teachers as seen in the case of an English teacher in a Government school teaching English to students and makingthem accent free in a remote school in TN! If either of them is even a partial truth then we have a model to build on. Teaching competency assessments shouldn’t really be based on Qualifications like B.Ed or any such mechanical training. True teachers are born like true musicians. If the pays and some living expenditure support becomes more attractive one could design a better method of finding and retaining teachers.

  2. True. It is not entirely necessary for person to be a “specialist” in field to help good policy making in the field. IOW a sharp generalist that get selected by the toughest selection process will be able to “grasp” the “technical” part of the policy making whether it is for the IT industry or Dairy or the pharmaceutical industry for instance. Yet we have examples of some good industry-grown specialists being in a better position to take quick and right decisions for them to be effective. Why was Varghese Kurian taken into the government or for that matter V.Krishnamurthy. That did help didn’t it? But it is a fact that if the Government is looking for ideological alignment of the specialist, then that may not be as effective. It may even be counterproductive for the best aligned person may not be the kind of expert that would fit.
    Yet as many suspect this may be government’s way getting “trained yes-men” but the other extreme of an expert not thinking in the direction of party in power may take the party’s route to “excellence”. For instance a left-aligned IAS Officer(he need not be really attached to a Leftist party as clearly service rules would not permit). But he could still be blocking any policy from the government that is not left-tuned. This precisely the reason why changes are seen at the pace at which they are announced.

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