BANGALORE: Karnataka has a shortage of 3,000 high school teachers in government and aided schools. This seems to be the reason for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to issue new guidelines that prescribe class strength in classes 8, 9 and 10 to ensure the Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) at 1:70.
High schools with less than 70 students will have one section, 71-140 students will have two sections, 141-210 will have three sections and so on.
“We are running low on teachers. There is a shortage of 3,000 teachers for high schools. Although we are in the process of getting 1700 new teachers, the PTR will be different at different levels due to the existing shortage,” said Tushar Girinath, Commissioner for Public Instruction.
On the new 1:70 PTR, he said that the ratio was as per the Karnataka Education Act (KEA), 1983. “The new guidelines adhere to the Act. Besides, we do not have problems at the primary level. The PTR at lower levels is 1:30, as kids need more attention.
However, at higher levels, students do not need meticulous focus,” he said. He added that the new 1:70 PTR for high schools is likely to change with class 8 being included in higher primary (classes 5,6 and 7) due to implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
However, the Karnataka State High School Assistant Masters Association has opposed the new guidelines. “With 70 students in one class, the amount of stress teachers have to undergo is indescribable. We are asking for a PTR of 1:50,” said Gopinath D C, Working President of the Association.
He added that the Association had requested the DPI to consider pending promotions to teachers before implementation of the guidelines. “There are 1340 headmaster promotions and 1500 lecturer promitions pending. Why not make the promotions first and then prescribe new PTRs?” he said. The Association will request CM Sadananda Gowda and to intervene.