BHUBANESWAR: The primary education is in dire straits in Odisha despite massive expenditure under Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan (SSA) and introduction of Right to Education (RTE) Act.
According to a study carried out by the State Government, out of 36,399 primary and 21,945 upper primary schools, over 90 per cent schools do not have teacher for each class. Individual classrooms are not available for 43,973 schools. Independent rooms for each class are available for only 2,885 schools. Only in 3,453 schools, there is a teacher for each class.
The statistics depict a bleak scenario of primary education in Odisha. School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, however, said that steps are being taken to fill up 16,000 vacancies of teachers by appointing Siksha Sahayaks (SS).
Official sources maintained that as per the RTE norms, there is requirement of 2,24,330 regular teachers for primary and upper primary schools in Odisha. However, there are only 1,15,833 regular teachers in the primary and upper primary schools.
There is a shortfall of 1,08,497 teachers.
The minister said that 73,736 Siksha Sahayaks and Gana Sikshaks have been engaged to tide over the situation. Despite the contractual engagement of teachers, there are 34,779 vacancies.
The issue had cropped up in the budget session of the Assembly with the Minister assuring the members that the vacancies will be filled up by engagement of Siksha Sahayaks. However, despite the promises, no steps seem to have been started to fill up the vacancies.
Surprisingly, in Ganjam, the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, posts of 8,000 teachers are vacant. Sources said 6,000 Siksha Sahayaks have been appointed to manage the situation.
In Mayurbhanj, the number of regular vacancies is more than 7,000, while in Kalahandi, it is more than 6,000. The situation in high schools is also not better. Official sources said that 1,721 High Schools are functioning without regular headmasters. A large number of teaching post, including the post of science teachers, are also lying vacant.