An indifferent attitude of the state government towards improving the quality of school education in the government-run schools has resulted in a shortage of about 40,000 teachers in Haryana.
Ad-hoc recruitments, which can only be stop-gap measures, are the order of the day. They have more often than not resulted in induction of more and more inefficient teachers to the already ineffective education system in the state.
The state government has even failed to motivate the teachers because of its flawed policies. Many good teachers, in the absence of regularisation of the job by the state education department, often leave in search of better options.
Till recently, even a performance appraisal system of teaching and supervisory staff was not in place, which left many deserving candidates frustrated. Besides, another major demotivating factor is the frequent transfers of teachers which is quite common in the state.
Besides, despite the shortage of teachers, the government, instead of showing any urgency to fill the gap, most of the times deploy even the available teaching staffs for non-teaching jobs such as polio administration, elections and census check, elections. They are not even paid for these additional works and this factor too contribute to their lackadaisical approach towards their primary job teaching.
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the government's confusing measures often lead to harassment of the teachers. How can one explain the government's move to ask the teachers who had already passed the competitive exam to get the job in the education department, to again sit for the training needs assessment examination conducted by the state education department without conducting a relevant survey in this regard? Registering their protest, over 30,000 government school teachers boycotted the test claiming this was an attempt to defame teachers, so that government can recruit others as daily wagers or on contract in place of regular employees.
The government claims of improving the teaching standards have proved to be hollow. Reports suggest otherwise to its claims that teachers have been largely relieved of non-teaching duties --Students often go without lessons for months since their classes are simply not held. The state still lacks robust Management Information Systems (MIS) that is so necessary to ensure efficient data collection and management system in schools.
These inadequacies are reflected in the school results. Available records show that only 56 percent students passed the Class XII Board exams (Board of School Education, Bhiwani) in 2011. The Assessment Survey Evaluation Report 2011 the Centre for Civil Societies shows that 60% of the children in fifth standard in government schools of Haryana could not even do simple division!
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that learning levels in Haryana are lower than national averages (Haryana scored 4-7% lower than national averages for all 3 areas (Reading, Math, EVS) tested by NCERT's National Achievement Survey in Class V in 2011).
The Department of School Education of the state government too, as recently as in 2014, conceded that students suffer badly because of the low quality of education imparted in most government schools.
There is, therefore, an urgent need to:
Urgently address the problem of shortage of teachers.
Encourage more and more educated youth to join the teaching profession through proper incentives.
Avoid ad hoc appointments of teachers.
Regularise the teachers
Provide basic infrastructure like classrooms and boundary walls, which are lacking at many places
Engage more and more students in classroom activities than just unnecessarily focus on instruction and syllabus as is the practice today.
Develop a feedback mechanism at the classroom level.
Optimise the HR processes for better managerial bandwidth to focus on the strategic agenda.
Develop an overall environment for a consistent metric and measurement of Learning Level Outcomes (LLOs) which could drive desired behaviours and decisions.
Implement School segment-specific initiatives.
As of today the situation is serious, considering that an incredible 93 percent of aspiring school teachers failed to clear the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) in 2012!
What is also required is a comprehensive Teaching Eligibility Test. At present it hardly measures the teaching aptitude of the teacher and is not any different than what the degree/diploma exams measure: the knowledge on the syllabi - English, mathematics and environmental science, and child development and pedagogy.
There is also a need for the government to allay serious apprehensions among the teachers that the state government was trying to involve private firms in the name of teachers training to exploit the situation.
Things can be expected to change only when there is an overall change in the organisational culture to increase ownership and focus on academics.