Temporary Education Hits Rural School

Lack of Permanent Teachers Hinders Higher Education in Rajasthan. Community Correspondent Shambhulal Khatik used to be a student of theGovernment high school in the village of Delwara in Rajasamand district, Rajasthan. But in the last few years, the unavailability of teachers for specialized subjects like Geography and Accounting for grades eleven and twelve have made it extremely difficult for the students to grasp and study these important but complicated topics. The Government High School is one of the biggest schools in the district and it is the first choice for students of around six villages to complete their primary and secondary education. The scarcity of teachers in this important and essential institution is affecting more than just the students. Commerce is one of the most popular streams of education in the country and Accounting constitutes a major subject. If a student in Delwara wishes to pursue it, the parents are forced to send their children to colleges situated away from their neighbourhoods. Or if they are admitted to the Government high school, much money has to be spent to enrol the students in coaching classes and tuitions. These options are not a luxury that all families in the villages can afford. “The problem is not just in Delwara,” says Shambhu. “Getting teachers has been a problem across the state. You’re always hearing of some school that shut down because of a lack of teachers.” After he made the video, Shambhu went again to the school and was informed that an older teacher who had retired has been hired again to teach Accounting. But it is only a temporary solution as the teacher has been put on a contract that lasts one academic year. And by the time he was hired, the students had already been through three months (a quarter of a semester) of school. “Every year it has been another version of the same story,” says Shambu. “The school begins and with it, the hunt for teachers. Three or four months later, they begin to panic and hire the first person they come across. That person trudges through one academic year and then the whole cycle begins all over again. Each year the level of exasperation hits a new low.” “My own sister is studying in the school and she wishes to pursue commerce. My parents would not prefer her going far away from the village for her education. But with things the way they are, there hardly seems to be any other option available.” Shambhu is determined to do his bit and he plans to show the video to the School Management Committee, the headman of his village and the Block Education Officer of his region. “I’ll go step by step, first taking action in my village and then pursue the matter till the district level until there is desired change.” Till the 90s, Rajasthan was among the states with the worst literacy rates. In the new millennium, it promoted and advocated literacy with a greater drive and while it still records the worst female literacy rate in the country, it has also registered the highest overall growth.  As primary education is being promoted and made accessible under the milestone 2009 Right to Education Act, the time has come for the state to focus on the accessibility and quality of higher education. The situation of the Government High School in Delwara may seem to be a small hurdle but the state and the authorities would do well to take immediate and appropriate action. The rights of the students are being violated and consistently denied and there are hundreds of futures, careers and aspirations at stake.

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