About 1.1 lakh schools in India are single-teacher institutions. This information has come out in UNESCO’s ‘2021 State of the Education Report for India: No Teachers, No Class’. A total of 19% or 11.16 lakh teaching positions are vacant in schools in the country, of which 69% are in rural areas.
Correlating this with the low-learning outcomes as per government data for Classes 3, 5 and 8, UNESCO has ‘in addition to improving the employment conditions of teachers, improving their working conditions in villages’. It has recommended to identify ‘aspirational districts’ and recognize teachers as frontline workers.
Women (in India) constitute about 50% of the teaching workforce
After underlining that 7.7% of pre-primary, 4.6% of primary and 3.3% of upper-primary teachers are under-qualified, the report states in its executive summary: “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for ensuring meaningful education and a resilient education system. For quality teaching and the role played by teachers has been highlighted. Women (in India) constitute about 50% of the teaching workforce, but there are significant inter-state and urban-rural differences.
Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of single teacher schools
The three states with more than one lakh vacancies are Uttar Pradesh (3.3 lakh), Bihar (2.2 lakh) and West Bengal (1.1 lakh). The UNESCO report ranks them as the three worst states in this parameter. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of single teacher schools (21077). Most of the vacancies are in rural schools like in the case of Bihar, where 2.2 lakh teachers are needed and 89% of these are in villages. Similarly, of the 3.2 lakh posts lying vacant in UP, 80 per cent are in schools in rural areas. For West Bengal this figure is 69%.
Analyzing data from the Unified District Information System for Education, the report said there is a rural-urban disparity and there is a great need to improve the availability and deployment of qualified teachers in the Northeast.
in Bihar under qualified more number of teachers
On the qualification of teachers, UNESCO report says that about 16% of pre primary, 8% primary, 13% upper primary, 3% secondary and 1% higher secondary teachers in Bihar are under qualified. At the higher secondary level, about 60% of all under-qualified teachers are in private unaided (recognized) schools, while 24% are in schools run by the education department.
The report recommends creating career paths for teachers, restructuring pre-service professional development and strengthening curricular and pedagogical reform, and providing meaningful ICT training.
All single-teacher schools are in rural areas
According to the findings, “Though teacher availability has improved, the student-teacher ratio in secondary schools remains unfavourable. There is no information about the availability of Special Education, Music, Arts and Physical Education teachers. The availability and deployment of subject teachers are also not well documented and monitored. Almost all single-teacher schools are in rural areas, and the provision of school libraries and information and communication technology infrastructure is minimal.
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