CHENNAI: Out of 59,152 schools (all management) in Tamil Nadu, 2,631 have just one teacher. Though the figure is only four per cent, it has raised concern among academicians since almost 87 per cent of these single-teacher schools are in rural areas.
This was revealed by UNESCO in its ‘No Teacher, No Class: State of Education Report for India-2021’.
“If these figures are true, then it’s very disturbing as the State government has been claiming there are no single-teacher schools in the State,” said Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary of Platform for Common School System.
Andrew Sesuraj, convenor of Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch, said: “One can clearly imagine the quality of education imparted in one-teacher schools. How can one teacher manage all the classes and administrative tasks?”
Despite repeated attempts, the school education department officials could not be reached. The report pointed out that this is also a violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandates a Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) of 30:1 for primary grades 1 to 5 and 35:1 for upper primary grades of 6 to 8.
On school infrastructure, the report says only 24 per cent of schools in Tamil Nadu have access to the internet, while only one per cent have availability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) laboratories. According to the report, around 61 per cent of schools in Tamil Nadu have library facility, which is not very impressive. Neighbouring Telangana, Karnataka, and Puducherry have library facilities at 88 per cent of their schools.
In India, a significant share of teachers in the pre-primary, primary and upper-primary levels possess neither an academic degree from a college (a graduate or a postgraduate degree) nor a professional degree (such as a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) or a certificate in basic teachers training), it said.
According to the report, 1.96 per cent pre-primary teachers are under-qualified in Tamil Nadu, while in primary and upper primary it is 0.54 per cent and 0.50 per cent respectively. What, however, remains a cause of concern is that in secondary and higher secondary level also at least 0.24 and 0.13 per cent teachers are under-qualified.
Gajendra Babu said the recruitment of under-qualified teachers in government schools is quite impossible in Tamil Nadu as there is a proper selection procedure based on their education qualification. The findings in the report, ‘State of the Education Report for India-2021’, are largely based on analysis of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) and the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) data.
No seat belt in privately arranged vehicles?
The ‘National Study on Safe Commute to School’, carried out by SaveLIFE Foundation and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) after the outbreak of Covid-19, highlights the absence of safety tools in privately arranged vehicles in Chennai. Ninety per cent of the respondents in Chennai claimed their privately arranged vehicle did not have seat belts. The study also underscored the absence of cycling paths and footpaths near schools in the State
In Chennai, about 48% of the parents and 33% of the children using privately arranged vehicles claimed rash driving by the driver
(Source: National Study on Safe Commute to School)