Lone teacher in Moga village school for five years and counting | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Lone teacher in Moga village school for five years and counting

67 students across Classes 6, 7 and 8 making do with lone teacher; officials remain unconcerned on filling the vacancies as school officially needs five teachers

punjab Updated: Aug 13, 2017 16:15 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Navpreet Kumar teaching at Government Middle School at Sirsari village in Moga on Friday, August 12.
Navpreet Kumar teaching at Government Middle School at Sirsari village in Moga on Friday, August 12. (Parampreet Singh Narula/HT)

Even the chief minister’s public comment on poor Class-10 results cannot move the state’s mandarins to fill posts of teachers in state’s districts. Sample this: Over 50 percent upper-primary schools don’t have principals — only 40 principals against 83 sanctioned posts. Against posts of 77 headmasters, only 29 are posted, a vacancy rate of around 60%. For over a year, the majority of the lecture and cadre posts are also vacant.

The most damning and insidious way in which this is reflected is the typical day at school — Government Middle School, Sirsari in Dharamkot subdivision — for its lone teacher Navpreet Kumar.

“I give work to one class and then go to another class. When any student needs to understand something they also visit me in another classroom.”

For the past five years now, Kumar — whose service is on contract — has been taking classes of nine subjects of 67 students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 alone. Officially, the school that functions under the Sarv Shikhsha Abhiyaan (SSA) has five sanctioned posts of teachers

— including of Hindi and Punjabi subjects. On how has he has been managing three classes simultaneously, Navpreet said, “It is difficult, but is managed after a lot of compromise on quality of education and teaching.”

When pressed further, he adds, “I give work to one class and then go to another class. When any student needs to understand something they also visit me in another classroom. On Saturdays, Classes 6, 7 and 8 are combined and I take a test.”

Transfers take away any help he gets

Navpreet, who joined the school in July 2010, said, “When I joined, I did have some other colleagues who had been deputed to this school. Soon, they were transferred to their original place of posting. Since then, I have been handling the school alone.” He added, “I request the education department to depute a permanent teacher. It is difficult for the school to function like this, especially when I have to take leave.”

Jaswinder Singh, a Class-8 student at the school, said, “Studies here is more of a formality with Sir constantly moving around between classes. We have to struggle to get his attention.” Gurdarshan Singh Brar, district education officer (DEO secondary) said, “I will bring the matter to the notice of my superiors as only they can resolve the issue.”