40% of teachers’ posts not filled in BMC schools: RTI
Mumbai: The quality of primary education in BMC-run schools is being significantly impacted due to teacher shortages as 40% of the total number of sanctioned positions are not filled across all mediums in the city’s civic-run schools, states an official data made available under the Right to Information (RTI)
Mumbai: The quality of primary education in BMC-run schools is being significantly impacted due to teacher shortages as 40% of the total number of sanctioned positions are not filled across all mediums in the city’s civic-run schools, states an official data made available under the Right to Information (RTI).
Out of 13,470 sanctioned posts for teachers, only 7,833 are filled.
After Urdu, Marathi teachers make up the second-highest number of officially sanctioned teachers. However, 64% of the positions in Marathi-medium schools are vacant. The language with the highest sanctioned strength, Urdu, has a 37% vacancy. Mumbai Public Schools – established as a brand and advertised for providing high-quality English education under the CBSE and ICSE boards – have the second-highest teacher shortage at 60%. The RTI data also indicated a 14% shortage of English, Hindi, and Gujarati-speaking teachers.
“How does the government plan on enrolling pupils if there aren’t enough teachers available? Although we discuss paying around ₹1 lakh per kid, have implemented virtual classrooms, and added other amenities, having teachers is still crucial. In contrast to Delhi, where public schools are luring even students from private institutions, this is not the case here and won’t be if the number of open positions stays this high,” said Jeetendra Ghadge of The Young Whistleblowers’ Foundation, who accessed the data and shared it with HT.
Ghadge and other citizens have expressed concern over the BMC’s investments in online education, which run into tens of crores while being unable to appoint a sufficient number of teachers in physical classrooms. “The heart of a school is its teachers, who provide each pupil with their individual attention. This is also a way to employ qualified people who are looking for gainful work. The effectiveness of virtual classes in the BMC schools is unknown,” said Ghadge, casting doubts over the efficacy of the civic body’s online modules, as fewer pupils are enrolled in them.
However, BMC officials claimed that the figures had been read incorrectly. “The data is being read incorrectly and it is not the fact. Between sanctioned strength and required strength, there is a gap,” according to a BMC education officer. “We have a 30:1 student-to-teacher ratio in primary schools, and that is usual. Posts are sanctioned only when necessary. Upper primary schools (class 6 to 8) have a ratio of 35:1, whereas secondary schools have a ratio of 40:1. (class 9 to 10). In Gujarati and Tamil medium schools, there are also more teachers. Where there is a shortage, we use them in classrooms. But the teachers-to-students that is specified under the Right to Education Act is being maintained.”
Although BMC officials said that the ratio of students to teachers working is equal, there are fewer teachers for Maths, English, and Science subjects.