As half-yearly examinations loom large in the near future, several schools in the East Siang district, particularly under the Mebo Sub-Division, are grappling with an acute shortage of teachers. This pressing issue has cast a shadow over the quality of education provided to students in far-off rural villages, raising questions about the responsibility of authorities and elected leaders.
Despite teachers being officially posted in these remote areas, reluctance to serve in such locations has become a concerning trend. Many educators are observed seeking favor from public officials to secure softer postings in township areas and their surroundings. The unfortunate consequence of this maneuvering is the students' plight, primarily those preparing for internal board examinations in classes Vth, VIIIth, Class-X, and Class-XII CBSE examinations.
A recent meeting held at the Government Upper Primary School, Borguli, saw parents, PRI leaders, head-teachers, and education officials gather to discuss why three teachers posted at the school had yet to join. The School Management Committee resolved to take up the matter with higher authorities to expedite their deployment.
The shortage of teachers is not confined to Borguli alone; it extends to several other schools in the district. Government Primary School (GPS) Kangkong in Seram village, for instance, has only one teacher responsible for 66 students. Similar circumstances prevail in GPS Kongkul, GPS Lower Sogan, GPS Tengabari, GPS Gadum-I, GPS Gadum-II, and Government UPS Mer, where only one or two teachers have been assigned. In GPS Gadum-I, the lone teacher is reportedly on medical leave, leaving the school without any instructor.
When approached for comment, Odhuk Tabing, Deputy Director of School Education, East Siang District, assured that actions were underway to rationalize teacher deployments. In response to questions regarding the three teachers yet to join UPS Borguli, Tabing indicated that they had been given until September 30th to report; otherwise, their payments would be withheld. He also mentioned that excess teachers in town schools would soon be redeployed to address the shortages in rural village schools.
However, sources from the education department suggest that political interference is a key factor contributing to the concentration of teachers in town schools. Elected officials, including MLAs, MPs, and Ministers, have been accused of backing certain teachers for softer postings, sometimes for extended periods. Additionally, it has been alleged that influential individuals, such as officers, businessmen, and party workers, use their connections to secure postings in township schools, further exacerbating the problem.
To rectify this situation and support teacher rationalization for rural schools, elected leaders, senior party members, officers, and businessmen must prioritize the educational needs of the district over political interests.
During a recent visit to the DDSE office in Pasighat, a teacher, speaking anonymously, disclosed that some teachers engage in mutual transfers between schools in the township to circumvent relocation to rural areas. This practice, he claimed, allows teachers to remain in comfortable postings within the town, leaving rural schools understaffed.
The teaching profession, often considered noble, plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of students. Teachers are urged to serve the government selflessly, ensuring quality education for children in far-flung areas. Soft postings in township areas should be granted based on a teacher's previous service in remote postings, health conditions, and proximity to retirement. New and youthful teachers should be assigned to far-off schools, irrespective of political influence.
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