Govt schools in rural areas of JK struggle with teacher deficiency: Officials

Students outside school in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. [Photo: Facebook/Govt Girls Model Higher Secondary School Kulgam]

Srinagar: In a concerning development that continues to haunt rural education, the skewed Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in government schools remains a pressing issue, profoundly affecting the education quality for rural students.

Despite recent efforts by the School Education Department (SED) to tackle this problem, many rural schools are still grappling with a severe shortage of teaching staff and a lack of fundamental facilities.

While some schools boast a surplus of teaching staff, others in remote rural areas are faced with a significant dearth of teachers, putting the academic future of students in jeopardy.

The Annual Transfer Drive (ATD), designed to alleviate PTR imbalances, has failed to produce the expected results, leaving rural schools in dire need of additional staff.

A glaring example of this issue is the Government Primary School (GPS) in Zone Chandoosa of Baramulla district.

Serving a student population of more than 100 from Kindergarten to Class 5, this school is currently staffed with only four teachers, underscoring a stark imbalance.

The repercussions of such uneven PTR ratios are most acutely felt in rural schools, where teacher shortages have resulted in a decline in student enrollment. This decline poses a significant challenge for the government, which actively promotes annual enrollment drives to boost student numbers in all schools.

A stark instance is the Government Middle School (GMS) in Zone Bidder of Anantnag district. This school, housing just more than two students, currently employs five teachers.

Notably, there are no students enrolled in two classes and the school operates from an underutilised prefab structure that was previously part of a nearby higher secondary school. A school teacher said that the school’s enrollment exceeded 50 students when it operated from rented premises few years ago.

“However, the decision to relocate the school to a prefab hut at the higher secondary caused a decline in enrollment, and there are fewer new admissions as well,” he said.

The school teacher stressed that the challenges faced by rural schools in terms of teacher deficiency and basic facilities require immediate attention from the authorities in the education department.

“The Department has taken several initiatives to ensure equal access to quality education in all areas. But rural schools need special attention as the student population is dependent on government schools due to the limited representation of private schools in remote areas,” the teacher said.

A top official in the School Education Department (SED) said the authorities are aware about the lopsided PTR in schools and efforts are underway to overcome the problem.

“We have recently constituted cluster system of schools under which the cluster heads are given direction to rationalize the teachers as per the student requirement,” the official said.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by FPK staff and is published from a syndicated feed from KNO.)

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