An experiment to promote science education in the state has failed in the district. The NABARD schools, opened in villages under the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development programme to promote vocational studies, commerce, and science among rural children, are short of staff and have no new teacher since 2008.
In almost all 14 NABARD schools of the district, the science blocks are locked. Each school requires at least 16 teachers (four each of science and humanities; six of vocational studies; and two of commerce), but the entire district has only two.
In 2008, the education department built a huge science block at Government Senior Secondary School, Rauke Kalan, but failed to deploy any subject teacher. "Of the 21 posts of teacher at the school, 15 are vacant for the past four years," said Sukhdev Singh Bhinder, in charge of the institution. "We run the school with the help of private teachers."
"How can the school run science programme," said Binder, "when our science block is now a store. Villagers found us some teachers for high and senior secondary classes, and the parents of our students pay them."
The senior secondary schools of Raunta, Daudhar, Thathi Bhai, Khukhran, and Kaliewala villages have no science teacher either. "There are locks on each science block," said Balwinder Pal Singh Happy, member of the state general council of the People's Party of Punjab. "Local people have written three times to the education department to ask for science teachers for the NABARD schools."
Jaspal Singh, district education officer (secondary), confirmed that the NABARD schools experiment was in trouble. "Some science teachers have joined at May-end," he said, "but science classes opened in April. I hope to open science groups in all NABARD schools in the district in the next session."
Former education minister Tota Singh said the chief minister had insured him to promote science studies in the government schools in villages. "I appreciate the villagers who arrange for science lessons," he said, "and assure you the posts will be filled."