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Delhi government schools facing shortage of Punjabi, Urdu language teachers

According to Delhi Minority Commission chairperson, officials at several government schools said Urdu and Punjabi languages are not being taught there.

delhi Updated: Oct 03, 2018 12:29 IST
Fareeha Iftikhar
Fareeha Iftikhar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi government schools,delhi minority commission,delhi department of education
File photo of a government school in Delhi. (HT File / Representative Image)

The Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) recently issued as many as six notices to the directorate of education (DoE) after complaints from government school students that they have not been provided Urdu and Punjabi as third language options.

According to DMC chairperson Zafarul Islam Khan, officials at several government schools, including Yamuna Vihar, Sarai Kale Khan and Shahdara, said Urdu and Punjabi languages are not being taught there.

“Some students told us that the heads of their schools asked them not to opt for Urdu or Punjabi as their third language because they are not scoring and it might affect their results. But the major reason is the lack of teachers for the disciplines,” he said.

In response to a notice to a Sarai Kale Khan school, the DoE told the commission last week there was no teacher for the languages and promised to allot one.

The commission has compiled a report through the Right to Information (RTI) Act on the status of Urdu and Punjabi languages in Delhi government schools. Of the 1,100 government schools in Delhi, Urdu and Punjabi languages are being taught in 284 and 282 schools, respectively.

The report said that of 1,028 sanctioned posts of trained graduate teachers (TGT) in Urdu language, 883 posts are lying vacant. Similarly, 780 out of 1,023 sanctioned TGT posts in Punjabi language are yet to be filled. TGTs are eligible to teach up to class 10.

“The situation is still better for class XI and XII students. Only 5 and 8 vacancies are there for Punjabi and Urdu, respectively,” said Manzar Ali, a member of the DMC’s advisory committee who has compiled the report.

Sanjay Goel, DoE director, cited “lack of demand” as the reason for the vacant posts. “Wherever there is no teacher there is no demand for the subjects and when there is a demand, we make all possible arrangements to allot a teacher. We are trying to appoint one permanent teacher for both languages in all government schools,” he said.

The commission members, however, said despite being taught in fewer schools, a large number of students are opting for these subjects. “Last year, as many as 90,000 students between class VI and X opted for Urdu and 29,000 opted for Punjabi. This is when the languages are being taught only in the 30% of the government schools in Delhi. Lack of teachers also discourage students from opting for the subject,” Ali said.

Under the National Education Policy (NPE), students in Hindi-speaking states have to learn a modern Indian language (22 languages under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution) as the third language — apart from Hindi and English. In Delhi government schools, Sanskrit, Urdu and Punjabi are being offered as the third language.

First Published: Oct 03, 2018 12:29 IST