Published: 23rd January 2019
Single teacher schools: K'taka ranks #6 in India with 4,700 such schools
Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of schools, with single teachers at 18,307 schools, followed by 12,052 in Rajasthan
In spite of the Right To Education (RTE) Act that clearly states, there should not be any single teacher schools, Karnataka ranks sixth in India, when it comes to having such single teacher schools. The Act directs all states to have at least two teachers when the student strength is between one and 60.
There are at least 4,767 government schools across Karnataka that are handled by single teachers. This has been revealed through data submitted by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, before the recently concluded winter session of the Lok Sabha. As per the data submitted, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of schools, with single teachers at 18,307 schools, followed by 12,052 in Rajasthan, 8,092 in Uttar Pradesh, 7,564 in Jharkhand, 7,483 in Andhra Pradesh and 4,767 in Karnataka. There is a total of over 92,275 schools with single teachers across India.
Talking about such schools in Karnataka, experts say it is because the state government failed to attract students to government schools. They also list a shortage of teachers to be another reason.
Dr VP Niranjanaradhya, an expert in the field of education said, "RTE clearly says that if the number of students is between 1 and 60, there should be two teachers. Because of this single teacher system, even Class 1 students are forced to sit with Class 5 students, in some schools in Karnataka."
Experts feel that student-pupil ratio has nothing to do with single teacher schools. "Teacher shortage is one of the main reasons for single teacher schools in the state. Pupil-teacher ratio can be taken into account only when the school has a strength of 150. In a situation where there are 10 students, and five belong to Class 1 while the others are in different grades, it is the responsibility of the government to put two teachers," explained Niranjanaradhya.
However, according to officials from the State Department of Primary and Secondary Education, these are the schools that have less than 10 students. MT Reju, state project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, said, "We have around 4,500 schools with less than ten students and as per the government orders, one teacher each is provided for these schools, and all of these are lower primary schools."
Single student schools
Not just schools with single teachers, there are few schools in Karnataka that have single students too. As per the details available from the department, there are two such schools. One in Kolar district and the other in Gadag district.