446 Barmer schools with no teachers get one each, ward off closure threat for now | jaipur | Hindustan Times
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446 Barmer schools with no teachers get one each, ward off closure threat for now

With these 446, Barmer now has 1,100 schools with just one teacher. It makes up for more than 26 per cent of the 4,213 government schools in the district.

jaipur Updated: Aug 11, 2017 20:18 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Students attend class under a tree at a government school in Rajasthan.
Students attend class under a tree at a government school in Rajasthan.(HT file photo/Picture for representational purpose only)

On the verge of closure, 446 state-run schools in Barmer have just been granted a lifeline, but barely so. The district education department has, as “special arrangement”, granted these schools a teacher each.

These 446 schools were functioning without any teacher until a month ago and for reason were facing imminent closure.

Since Rajasthan government banned deputation of teachers, the order issued by the district administration for posting the teachers at these schools, mentions “educational arrangement” as the reason.

With these 446, Barmer now has 1,100 schools with just one teacher. It makes up for more than 26 per cent of the 4,213 government schools in the district.

The reason for this alternative arrangement is a directive issued by the state secondary education department on July 6 warning that principals and district education officials will be held responsible if a school is shut down due to lack of teachers.

With the proverbial Damocles’ sword hanging over their head, the principals and the district education department officials are now questioning the directive. They reason that filling the vacancies and posting teachers in schools is government’s responsibility and they should not be made a scapegoat for government’s failure.

The district education department officials termed the directive to hold principals responsible for school closure for lack of teachers as dictatorial. “How can principals perform if there are no teachers in the school? Filling the vacancies is government’s job. If a school is shut down due to lack of teachers, the government should be held responsible, not the principals,” an official told HT requesting not to be named.

In Barmer alone, 55 per cent or 6,269 posts of teachers out of the total sanctioned strength of 11,365 in the district are vacant.

The district officials may have managed to save the 446 schools from imminent closure, but the situation hasn’t got any better for students. The sole teacher is supposed to take classes in all subjects and also organise the distribution of midday meals. The teachers are also responsible for increasing the enrolment. Apart from this, they are also called in for other government work such as election duty and census.

When this teacher is on leave, there’s unscheduled holiday in the school.

Contacted, Nathmal Didel, director, secondary education, said that the directorate has sent a good number of teachers to Barmer and such a situation, wherein the schools have to shut down because of lack of teachers, should not arise. “I’ll get a detailed report on the matter from Barmer,” he added.

Opposition Congress, however, termed the exercise as eyewash. “The government is taking such steps to hide its failures,” said district Congress vice-president YD Joshi.