A very large number of teachers in the country do not attend their classes regularly, according to government and NGO reports.
A government report placed before Parliament last year said around 20% of teachers did not attend classes regularly while another report by Pratham, an NGO that works on providing education to underprivileged children, showed teachers’ attendance was only marginally better at 85.5%.
Some of the worst performing states in the report include Bihar (75.8%), Uttar Pradesh (77.8%), Chhattisgarh (75.7%), Madhya Pradesh (70.4%) and Gujarat (70%).
The good performers are West Bengal (96.3%), Delhi (95%), Maharashtra (87.8%), Orissa (87.4%), and Haryana (86.9%).
“I would say the most important reason behind teachers bunking classes is the lack of vigilance by the government,” said Ajit Solanki, state head of Pratham in Uttar Pradesh. “The officials in the block and district hardly go on inspections.”
Education experts say lack of motivation, absence of government incentives, poor student attendance and zero monitoring mechanism are all reasons for the poor teacher attendance.
On the other hand, in good performing states like West Bengal, the community has found a way to force teachers to attend school.
School management committees in this eastern Indian state include teachers, parents and district officials and are quite proactive in ensuring that erring teachers attend schools. The state boasts of 96.3% teacher attendance.
“The people here start demonstrating if the school is not functioning well or if teachers are found absent from work,” said West Bengal in-charge of Pratham, Animesh Chatterjee.