1,606 Gujarat primary schools functioning with just one teacher, Govt tells assembly

Gujarat's education minister Kuber Dindor reasoned that the number of schools having teacher shortage have increased due to transfer to chosen places.

Over 1,600 Gujarat primary schools have only one teacher (Representational image: Wikimedia Commons)Over 1,600 Gujarat primary schools have only one teacher (Representational image: Wikimedia Commons)

Press Trust of India | February 12, 2024 | 05:34 PM IST

GANDHINAGAR: As many as 1,606 government-run primary schools in Gujarat were functioning with just one teacher, the state government informed the legislative assembly on Monday. In a debate during the Question Hour of the ongoing budget session, state Education Minister Kuber Dindor admitted that the number of schools facing a shortage of teachers has increased in the last two years mainly because of the transfer of educators to places of their choice.

While Dindor assured the House that vacant posts in the state-run primary schools would be filled "at the earliest", Congress MLAs took a strong exception and asked the BJP government to specify the timeframe for filling the posts. Responding to a question by Congress MLA Tushar Chaudhary, the minister said 1,606 government primary schools in Gujarat were functioning with just one teacher as of December 2023. The state has more than 32,000 government primary schools. He said steps are being taken to ensure that students do not suffer, and these measures included the appointment of gyansahayaks or contractual primary teachers and conducting teacher transfer camps.

Senior Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar informed the House that despite the state government's assurances in the past, the number of primary schools functioning with just one teacher has increased in two years. "The state government had informed this House in March 2022 that nearly 700 schools were functioning with just one teacher. Today, that number stands at 1,606. As per the records, more than 19,000 vacancies of teachers are still vacant in Gujarat. I want to know what the state government has planned to address this issue?" Parmar said.

Congress MLAs Kirit Patel, Geniben Thakor and Tushar Chaudhary expressed their displeasure and asked if the government has set a deadline to fill the vacant posts instead of saying the vacancies will be filled "at the earliest". The minister, however, pointed out that though 1,606 schools were functioning with just one teacher, nearly half of them maintained the student-teacher ratio of 30:1 as prescribed under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. "Of these 1,606 schools, 20 have less than five students, 86 have between five to ten students, 316 have 11 to 20 students, 419 have 21 to 30 students, 694 have 31 to 60 students, and 71 schools have more than 61 students. We should also consider this fact,” Dindor said.

He further said that the shortage of teachers at these schools was due to a transfer camp recently organised by the education department, where many educators had sought transfers to their hometowns. "In all, 27,848 teachers got transferred recently. We will fill the vacant posts at the earliest," the minister said.

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