Teacher Deficit Threatens to Derail Rural School

In a state that constantly ranks low in surveys of quality of education, headmaster James Tirkey runs an enviable institution. The Karika Government School in District West Singhbhum is one of best administered rural high schools in Jharkhand. The building is kept clean. Records and services are timely and well-administered. It is run by a dedicated staff. Mid-day meals are of high quality and served on time. Number of dropouts is low. The headmaster is a man of his community. Mr. Tirkey has inspired the importance of education and sending their children to school in the minds of the people living in the villages nearby. The children and the community are proud of their school. But inspite of his best and constant efforts, the authorities in the Education Department remain unconvinced and unimpressed. The school which began as a primary level institution has now been upgraded to a ‘high school’. The number of grades, students and work for the staff has increased multifold. The number of teachers however has remained constant. The teaching staff consists of only one government appointed teacher, 3 para teachers, 1 teacher whose salary is paid by the community and Mr. Tirkey himself who takes classes even as he single-handedly takes care of the administration. The school has 375 students. As per Right to Education Act 2009, the student teacher ratios must be maintained at not more than one teacher for every 30 students. Ideally, the school needs 13 teachers to take care of the classes. But currently the six teaching staff is being stretched to their limits. They are putting in their best efforts. But classes are running empty. They are unable to give enough focus on the students. The teachers are growing weary, the students disillusioned. Quality of education is dipping. The Department of Education continues to ponder over the demand for a teacher. Meanwhile, the futures of 375 tribal kids in one of the most remote areas in the country are in jeopardy. Call to Action: Call District Education Officer Poonam Singh on 0980199360 and demand that the issue of teacher deficit at Karika high school be looked into and solved immediately.  

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