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Delhi teachers are govt’s ultimate multitaskers

With priorities as diverse as administering iron tablets to girl students and responding to RTI queries, teachers in Delhi government schools are left with little time to focus on their core function – teach.

State of Schools Updated: Sep 05, 2016 16:12 IST
Schools
Teachers conduct classes outdoors at a government school in Mustafabad, Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)


With priorities as diverse as administering iron tablets to girl students and responding to RTI queries, teachers in Delhi government schools are left with little time to focus on their core function – teach.

As the government fails to fill up over 700 posts, of the total 900, of lower and upper division clerks, teachers have been burdened with most of the administrative duties.

“Nearly 90% of the government schools do not have administrative staff,” said CP Singh, president of the Government School Teacher’s Association (GSTA).

The Elementary Education in India report by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NEUPA) show that 12.05% teachers were involved in non-teaching assignments in 2014-15. It was just from 1.48% in 2013-14.

“A teacher has to distribute scholarship money, file reply to RTI queries, distribute give iron tablets to students and update students’ information online,” said Hari Om Sharma, who teaches English at a school in Molarbandh.

He said teachers also have to record students’ attendance, evaluate answer sheets and prepare results. “This takes up most of the time and keeps teachers away from academics,” said Sharma.

Read| 1 teacher for 80 students: Delhi govt schools slip on numbers

Students in Delhi government schools have a massive learning gap. Most mid-level students were not even able to read their text books, prompting the AAP government to launch a mission to correct the discrepancy. Absence of teachers from the classes adds to the problem.

At the senior level, Delhi schools are nearly 3,000 teachers short. To add to the burden of the existing strength, several are deputed with the education department and the Vidhan Sabha as assistants.

“I know a postgraduate teacher (PGT) who is working with the directorate of education since 2002. He has never taught in a school,” said Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary of GSTA.

The government recently appointed one computer assistant in each school to help teachers update students’ information online. But teachers said one assistant was not enough. “For a school having over 2,500 students, one computer operator is not enough. So, teachers have to do it themselves,” said a guest faculty at a Delhi school, who did not want to be named.

Government officials said estate managers and ministerial staff are being appointed in schools as a temporary measure to take the administrative burden off the teachers. “We have hired estate managers on one-year contract. Two managers have been appointed for schools with student strength under 700. For those having more than 700 students, three managers are hired,” said an education department official.

Absence of teachers from classes has also adversely affected discipline in the classroom. A teacher who has taught in four schools in the last 21 years said, “These days children have no respect for their teachers. You can’t even scold the students. You never know what they might do,” he said.

Over 17,000 guest teachers are demanding regularization of job. They often complain of irregular wages and have protested several times to press their demands. An official said the government has done its bit and the “file is yet to get L-G’s approval”.

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