Srinagar: Despite serious efforts, the streamlining of lopsided Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in government schools has thrown up a major challenge for the School Education Department (SED).
Over the years, the SED has been struggling to streamline the adverse PTR in schools, but the adjustment of surplus staff and strengthening the ‘single teacher schools’ has been caught in official wrangles.
In the recent past, the SED deputed teachers from primary and middle schools to overcome the dearth of teaching staff in high and higher secondary schools leaving the former teacher-deficient.
The teachers were deputed to high schools as part of academic arrangement to provide subject-specific teachers to the students in high schools.
“But the move resulted in crisis in the primary and middle schools which were left without teachers,” an official said. He said that three to four teachers ran the middle schools having students from 1st to 8th standard while one or two teachers run the primary schools having students in five classes.
“In some cases, some of the primary schools are run by single teachers which has taken a toll on the academics of the students. It is not humanly possible for a single teacher to manage five classes simultaneously,” the official said.
He said that the deputation of teachers from middle and primary schools to high and higher secondary schools was done without following merits.
“Besides academics, the single teacher posted in primary schools also has to look after different assignments given by the district administration or the directorate. In most of the cases, academics take a beat seat as the teacher remains busy in dealing with other assignments given by the department,” the official said.
Another official said that most of the single teacher schools were located in far off places of different districts as some teachers were either adjusted in offices or had managed their deputations out of their zones.
“This is another reason why the schools are left without teachers,” the official said.
The official data of the Ministry of Education (MoE) revealed that around 22 percent schools at the primary level and 60 percent schools at the upper primary level had an adverse PTR.
The figures reveal that J&K SED has over 10,000 surplus teachers. “The surplus teachers have remained unutilised as no one wants to serve in schools located in far off areas,” the official said.
While majority of the middle schools are teacher-deficient, the department has posted surplus staff in some middle schools having meager enrollment.
“Basically, posting of teachers or deputation is not done on merits. Some teachers manage their posting in nearby schools while other schools in far off areas are left teacher-deficient,” the official said. Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajiv Rai Batnagar told Greater Kashmir that he would discuss the matter with Principal Secretary SED.
“If there are instances of schools with surplus staff or teacher-deficient schools, people should share it with me and I will take up the issue with the department to resolve the matter,” he said.