Even as the Odisha government has transformed several schools into smart schools under its 5T initiative, it has failed to address the core issue-- shortage of teachers-in those institutes.
Take for example, Chitrakonda Higher Secondary School in Malkangiri district, Lal Bahadur High School in Papadahandi block of Nabarangpur district and Government Girl’s High School in Rayagada to name a few are some of the schools which have facilities of smart classrooms, e-libraries, e-laboratories, modern washrooms and drinking water filters at par with a private school. However, in true sense, such schools are still reeling under severe teacher shortage like before.
Balaram Padhiari, a guardian in Chitrakonda said, “Developing school building and transforming classrooms into e-classroom is not enough. The ultimate requirement for learning of students is teachers which need to be addressed first.”
“We are happy for the smart classrooms, but our school does not have adequate teachers for all subjects which hamper our study. We do not have Hindi and Sanskrit teacher due to which we are unable to learn lessons,” said a girl student of Lal Bahadur High School in Papadahandi.
And it's not only smart schools, various other government-run schools are also facing severe shortage of teaching staff.
According to the UNESCO 2021 State of the Education Report for India: No Teachers, No Class, Odisha has 68,717 government schools which require 28,816 more teachers.
The teacher crunch is more alarming in schools functioning in rural pockets of the State. The UNESCO report revealed that 67 per cent teacher posts are lying vacant in rural areas.
Meanwhile, the School and Mass Education department has exuded confidence that around 16,000 teachers will be appointed in schools soon to address the shortage of teachers.
“At present, there is one teacher per 22 students while the national average is 1:30. In addition, the State government is going to fill up 16,000 teacher posts by December this year. The teacher crunch will be resolved in coming days,” Dash said.