Over 450 city municipal primary schools reel under staff crunch

The Ahmedabad municipal school board is facing a shortage of 1,120 teachers across its 456 primary schools in the city. This has resulted in poor pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of 45:1 in these schools against 30:1 stipulated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

As against the sanctioned posts of 4,820, the board has 3,700 teachers. The shortage is across all the subjects. This number has declined over the years with 4,005 teachers in 2011-12 to 3,589 in 2012-13.

Municipal school board chairman Jagdish Bhavsar said, "At present, there are nearly 3,700 teachers while as per the student strength of nearly 1.61 lakh, the requirement is 4,615 (teachers). The shortage of teaching staff has been regularly communicated to the authorities concerned. It is expected that the matter will be dealt with soon."

The school board does not induct teachers directly, but as vidyasahayaks. Introduced in 1998, vidyasahayaks after working for five years are promoted as teachers.

In a year, the number of vidyasahayaks has also declined from 341 to 295. Vidyasahayaks are paid a salary of Rs 5,300, which is three times less than the salary of teachers.

Last year, with the implementation of the RTE Act, the state Education Department laid down the teacher-student ratio for primary schools according to the two categories these schools have been divided into lower and upper primary. For lower primary, the teacher-student ratio should be 1:30 while for upper primary schools, the ratio has to be maintained at 1:35.

The department has proposed to recruit 14,000 teachers for government schools across the state through Teachers Eligibility Test at a cost of more than Rs 100 crore.

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