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.
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.”
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.