Himansu Shekhar Rout

Teacher shortage continues to plague learning in many schools in Odisha. Some schools do not have regular teachers while others are run with deputed and guest ones. The situation is in sharp contrast to the state government’s tom-tommed claim that high school education is being bolstered under the 5T Initiative with splashy infrastructure development. However, the issue of teaching staff allegedly remains unresolved at the schools.

Efforts of the government to create future citizens of the country amid teacher crunch in schools seem to be impossible and futile, it was observed.
Bansada High School in Chandabali block of Bhadrak, set up in 1976, has recently gone through a complete makeover under the 5T Initiative. The school looks spic and span with coloured buildings, a well-equipped science laboratory, computers, new study chairs and desks for which Rs 38 lakh has been spent. But what the school lacks is teachers. There are 209 students in classes VIII, IX, and X, but surprisingly one teacher, and that too, the headmaster, is there to manage the teaching and look after the management. 

Upset over teacher shortage, Lipsarani Barik, a student of Class-VIII, fumed asking, "What is the use of having good buildings and classrooms? When we lack teachers, how will our studies be carried out? If we are not taught well, how can we make progress?” 

Abhilipa Pradhan, a Class-X student also raised a pertinent question, saying, “The government is spending crores of rupees to make smart classes. But the required number of teachers is missing. We urge the government to make sufficient provision of teachers.” 

Headmaster Sarbeswar Padhi lamented that two guest teachers were appointed while only one of them joined, but later stopped coming. “We have told the DEO several times about the issue" he added.       

Asked about the teacher shortage, Chandbali Block Education Officer (BEO) Subhendu Maharaj denied having knowledge about the problem. He said, “If the headmaster officially intimates the BEO office about the problem, we will talk to the DEO to sort out it in seven days. Teachers will be sent to the school on deputation.”

Another glaring instance of teacher shortage can be observed at KC Town High School located behind the BeMC office in Berhampur. The perennial problem of the school has failed to draw the attention of the administration. The school has only four teachers for 120 students from Class VI to Class X. Two teachers are regular while two others impart teaching three days a week. 

Also Read: Odisha students lock up school over teacher shortage; launch sit-in protest

As studies are being hampered, students and guardians are worried ahead of the annual HSC examinations. 

Gobinda Chandra Das, a student of Class-X, unhappy over teacher shortage, said: Guest and deputed teachers are teaching, but all our subjects are not covered. Besides, guest teachers are not coming regularly. 
Guest teacher Sushant Patnaik observed, “Some regular teachers retired in July. Guest and two deputed teachers have joined the school. We have no regular teacher.” 

As per reports, there are 56,000 primary and upper primary schools and 7,000 high schools in the state. As many as 24,000 teaching posts are lying vacant in primary and UP schools while 15,000 are yet to be filled up in high schools.

Report by Trilochan Sahu 

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