Published: 03rd August 2021
Education in tatters in Bastar, Chattisgarh, as schools are overcome by severe shortage of teachers
Only one teacher in 1,588 government schools; none in 227 schools. Maoist disturbances and remoteness of the location to be blamed, says government
Bastar in south Chhattisgarh suffers from twin challenges: the severe shortage of school teachers and the Maoists menace. The region has far more security personnel (over 50000) than teachers. The Chhattisgarh government has allowed reopening schools for Class X and XII on Monday after a gap of almost a year and a half. However, the schools in the tribal-dominated backward region of the Bastar region, with an area bigger than the Kerala state, suffer owing to the lack of improvement in the education system owing to the lack of dedicated teachers.
Educationists felt this hampers effective schooling. The academic activities and the learning process are apparently more in disarray in the government primary schools of the region. The severe shortage of teachers in the schools, according to the officials of the education department, are being compensated by securing alternative arrangement seeking the support of Shiksha Doot, Athiti Sikshak, Shikshak Sarthi, Shikshak Sevak. School education in the Bastar zone suffers as the situation remains depressive in 1,588 government schools that are functioning with only one teacher. And if the official records are to be believed, there are 227 schools that don't have a single teacher.
Academician Jawahar Suresetti cited the lax administration that is creating hurdles for improvement particularly in the Bastar region. "If the administration is not sufficiently strict, the education system is bound to suffer," he added. "The teachers who get appointed do not wish to stay long and get themselves transferred from Bastar again creating vacant positions in schools after they complete the mandatory 3 years of service. Shiksha Doot, Athiti Sikshak, Shikshak Sarthi, and Shikshak Sevak have been deployed in schools where an acute shortage is felt. Based on the academic qualifications, their support has been roped in and paid for from the District Mineral Foundation (fund)," said Bharati Pradhan, joint director (School Education, Bastar region).
There are over 16,500 schools in the seven Maoist-affected districts of Kanker, Jagdalpur, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Dantewada and Sukma of Bastar. "Things are gradually improving. The state government has placed an order to appoint 14,588 new teachers for the schools last week. In disturbed areas owing to Maoists and the remote locations, the department often faces the issue of adequate teachers for obvious reasons. Several local teachers will also be appointed for elementary level schools," said Alok Shukla, Principle Secretary (School Education).