At a time when modern methods of teaching and e-learning are being introduced in various schools, a report finds that 46 schools in Mumbai have only one teacher. The Unified-District Information System of Education (U-DISE) 2014-15 report has found that 163 schools in Maharashtra, including one from Mumbai, do not have even a single teacher.
This is worse than last year’s performance, when 36 Mumbai schools ran with a single teacher, while 70 state schools did not have any teacher. Though the survey examined more than 1.06 lakh schools, both government and private, education department officials said schools with a single teacher or running without teachers were likely to be civic-run schools or small private schools.
PR Pawar, director, Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad (MPSP), said, “We are aware of the low number of teaching staff in these schools. This is because teachers retire or quit. In such situations, we depute temporary teachers,” Pawar said.
The survey also found that more than 60,000 schools in the state, including 1,000 in Mumbai, did not have a headmaster. The administrative responsibilities are shared by senior teachers, adding to their burden. The Right to Education Act, 2009, lays down a ratio of one teacher for every 30 students.
“In private-aided schools, if management fails to find a candidate qualified for the post of headmaster, another teacher, who may not be adequately qualified, is handed the additional responsibility,” said Father Francis Swamy, co-ordinator, Jesuit Board of Education. “The teacher then has to manage the school along with academics, which can affect his/her quality of teaching.”
Swamy said shortage of staff in the education department was to be blamed. “The department does not have enough people. So, inspections in schools have not been conducted for many years.”
Ban on teacher recruitment by the government till last year led to the low numbers, said experts. “We were not given approvals for recruiting teachers till last year. Officials insisted there was a surplus,” said Prashant Redij, principal, Hilda Castelino High School, Kandivli.
The DISE survey is conducted every year by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi.