Published: 09th December 2021
From 294 contracted teachers in 2018 to 40 in 2021, Lakshadweep is facing an academic crisis. Is anyone listening?
The data shared by the ministry too paints a rather worrisome picture. It says that currently, only 40 contract teachers are working under the Department of Education in the UT
Amid political crises and protests against the administrator, Lakshadweep is currently facing a dearth of regular teachers. Answering a query by Mohammed Faizal PP, the only MP who represents the constituency, Minister of State for Education Annapurna Devi revealed that the Union Territory was woefully short of teachers, in Parliament on Monday.
While Faizal had shared data with EdexLive that shows a shortage of 109 teachers across grades in 10 islands, the ministry, however, maintains that despite multiple strikes, there is no shortage of teachers. "Students served strike notices from Kavaratti, Androth, Kadmath, Amini, Agatti, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra islands on the alleged shortage of teachers," said Devi. However, she added, "There is no shortage of teachers in Lakshadweep Schools as the Education Department, UT of Lakshadweep appointed 40 teachers on contract basis."
The data shared by the ministry doesn't support the minister's claim. It says that currently, only 40 contracted teachers are working under the Department of Education in the UT and their contracts will end on March 31, 2022. However, the number was as high as 90 in the previous academic year, which is a sharp decline of almost 56 per cent. But that is not it. Between academic years 2019-20 and 2020-21, the number of teachers fell by 58 per cent - from 215 to 91. This bucks a trend where from 2014-15 to 2018-19, the number of contractual teacher appointments rose every year.
Baffled by the response, Faizal said, "I had asked this question because there have been various strikes about the teacher shortage. Owing to a staff shortage, the existing teachers are overburdened and have not been able to complete teaching the syllabi, especially for High School students." He also shared documents that said that there had been strikes in November, even after the MoE had appointed 40 contract teachers.