45 students, 14 teachers: Baramulla School Throws Norms On Pupil-Teacher Ratio To Winds

Deep inside the Baramulla town and away from the pubic gaze, a group of ‘influential’ teachers is virtually having a field day at a government school here.

The government middle school (GMS) Baramulla with total enrolment of 45 has 14 teachers against the approved teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30. For every teacher there are just four students in the school, which is located at Naii Basti in Noor Bagh area of Baramulla.

As per the school statement, the number of students in class 8 is four, while as no student is enrolled in class 7. 

This correspondent visited the school on Tuesday during working hours, and found none of the six students enrolled in class 6 was present.

“We have just six students in class 6, but all are absent today,” a female teacher said, adding that four students were enrolled in class 5 and five in class 4.

The norm for pupil-teacher ratio is flagrantly violated in this school which falls in the vicinity of the zonal and the chief education officers Baramulla. Both the offices are located within two kilometers distance from the school.

“Normally, a middle school has a sanctioned strength of five teachers and one headmaster. But in some cases we have provide eight teachers for eight classes in middle schools, provided enrollment is good,” said an official wishing not to be identified.

The headmaster of the school Nazir Ahmad however said the number of teachers posted in the school is only 11, which was refuted by an official at the zonal office saying there were 14 teachers posted in the school. 

“Mostly a middle school is given 8 teachers for eight classes so I have sufficient teachers here. But the enrollment is very less because parents don’t prefer government schools,” the headmaster said.

It may be recalled that J&K government in 2015 started process for rationalization of government schools and clubbed at least 2406 schools including 1834 operating from rented accommodations. The schools were merged for having less enrolment and more teachers.

However, the department has failed to maintain pupil-teacher ratio in many schools over the years.

CEO Baramulla, Abdul Ahad Ganai said that many teachers “are posted in schools (of their choice) on health grounds or other pretexts made by the teachers.”

“But I will discuss the issue of this school with the ZEO concerned. Other schools have the same issues and most of these teachers are females. But we will try to streamline the process,” he said.