Bihar mulls roping in jobless engineers as science teachers in schools

By a very conservative estimate, there is a shortfall of over 18,000 teachers in the schools of Bihar at secondary and higher secondary levels.

patna Updated: Jun 08, 2017 19:16 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar schools,Engineers teachers,Education minister
If things happen as being planned, engineers may find themselves as teachers in school classrooms of Bihar. (HT file photo)

Call it an admission of the harsh education truths or desperation to find some instant and viable solution, but the Bihar government may go in for out of box measures to meet the growing shortfall of quality science teachers in state’s secondary and higher secondary education.

With quality teachers of physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology hard to find and average ones not even qualifying, as per teachers’ eligibility norms, the government now plans to induct engineers as teachers.

As the engineers don’t usually have a B.Ed or other teacher-education degrees, the government plans to relax the norms for their induction on contract basis on a much higher salary.

Confirming this option was under active consideration, Education minister Ashok Choudhary said the government would have to plan something different to ensure quality education at the secondary and higher secondary levels and a paradigm shift may be in offing with regard to policy.

“Inducting engineers is an option we have discussed, as finding qualified teachers of science is turning out to be difficult. With so many unemployed engineers,, teaching can be a good option for them also. Having studied science, they will certainly be better. We will also try to look into the possibility of paying them a better wage scale to attract the talented lot,” he added.

Choudhary said once the draft of the road map reaches him, he would discuss it at the highest levels. “We are also studying various concepts used in other states, viz. there is a provision of junior colleges in southern states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka -models, which could be followed for a revamp,” he added.

The stark reality – a result of the waning education system – was evident in the 2011 state teachers’ eligibility test (STET). It laid bare the quality of teacher aspirants, who were all graduates or post-graduates from state universities but lacked the wherewithal to engage meaningful classes. In Physics, just eight teachers qualified in STETof whom three were trained and rest untrained.

In other science subjects, as also English, the number of qualifying candidates were was much less than the requirement and the vacancies have only grown.

“It is vicious circle. Poor quality in primary education affects secondary and higher secondary and from there it percolates to higher education. With poor intake, students cannot be transformed at graduation or post-graduation levels. The students who were in class 1 in 2005 have done higher secondary today and three years hence, they will be graduates and eligible to apply for various posts,” said an academician, who did not want to be quoted.

Despite four phase of recruitment, the shortfall of teachers continues. Even as per the old estimation, there is shortfall of nearly 18000 teachers. Official sources admitted that nearly half of the quality teachers appointed in 2006 and later, had left after getting better opportunities in different jobs.

“With enrolment in secondary and higher secondary education growing, it is now posing a serious challenge not only to find good teachers, but also in retaining those inducted,” said the officials, adding Bihar government would soon announce the date for the second STET after conducting TET for primary teaches on June 29.

First Published: Jun 08, 2017 19:16 IST