Srinagar: Despite the availability of over 10,000 surplus teaching staff, the lopsided Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in government schools across J&K has become a persistent problem.
The School Education Department (SED) has failed to streamline the posting of teaching staff in educational institutions even as the services of surplus teachers have remained unutilized across Jammu and Kashmir.
Over the years, the SED has merged hundreds of schools with meagre enrolment and the services of the surplus staff was to be utilised in the schools on the basis of requirement.
However, the exercise has not resolved the problem on the ground as the majority of the elementary level schools have been rendered with adequate teaching staff, leaving the students at the receiving end. Also, most of the primary schools are run by single teachers in far off areas of the Valley.
The issue has again come to limelight as the educational institutions are scheduled to reopen from the first week of March and most of the schools up to elementary level in rural areas are teacher deficient.
On the other hand, the teachers in most of the schools located in towns and cities outnumber the students, which has thrown up a major challenge for the government to streamline Pupil Teacher Ratio in schools.
The primary and middle level schools have been rendered teacher deficient as the department in mid-session of 2022, deputed in high and higher secondary schools to overcome the dearth of teaching staff in these institutions.
“The move resulted in crises in primary and middle schools as the middle schools having students from 1st primary to 8th class are run by three to four teachers while the primary schools having students in five classes are run by one or two teachers,” said a middle school teacher posted in a far off area of Kupwara district.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) has pulled up the SED over the lopsided PTR in government schools in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ministry has repeatedly asked the J&K government to streamline the PTR in schools and ensure quality education is provided to the students.
The figures produced by the MoE have revealed that around 22 percent Primary schools and 60 percent Upper Primary Schools are with adverse PTR.
“The J&K SED has over 10000 surplus teachers available but their services remain un-utilised,” the Ministry has observed. During the previous years, the SED would order reshuffle of teachers during winter vacations. However, the department did not order any transfers during this winter owing to the shift in the academic session from November to March.
The advisor to J&K Lieutenant Governor Rajiv Rai Batnagar when contacted acknowledged that the education department has sufficient teachers available and the issue of adverse PTR will be examined. “Some rationalisation was done at district level in past but I will still examine the issue and find out why schools are facing dearth of teachers. I have already discussed the matter with director school education,” he said.