Yesterday, in the local newspaper there was the shocking news of the very high drop-out rate of children from schools as well as the non-attendance of enrolled students in the state. The given numbers are so high and should be a major cause of concern to one and all.
Recently, I happened to attend a convergence meeting between the Department of Education and the Department of Health in one of the districts of the state. It was shocking to hear the District Education Officer mention that of the 1500 vacancies for teachers in the district, only 300 teachers are on the rolls. He was not sure if it was because of the lack of qualified people for the job or the lack of government commitment to fill the remaining vacancies.
When we go to visit our local communities, it is quite common to see students of different classes being taught by a single teacher. Many a time, we find these teachers arriving so late for work.
Couple of weeks back, I had a discussion with our staff on what ails the community and the reasons behind the poor socio-economic situation. I was quite surprised to hear one of the staff from a near village say, ‘Many of our problems will be solved if the schools in our villages are run well. Hardly any one of them are run well. Teachers hardly come. Even when they come, they stay for about an hour and return.’ He mentioned about one gentleman who stays quite near our hospital and works as a teacher in the nearby school. This teacher would come for about one hour to school. Then, he goes back home and takes tuition at home for well to do families in the village.
I asked him why nobody took a stand against this teacher. Of course, he was from a dominant caste and nobody dared question him.
I’m sure that this is the situation in most of the villages.
We have quite a lot of our friends who run schools on non-profit and profit basis in various parts of the state. The voice I hear from them is so uniform. Each of them struggle to select students from the number of applicants. There is so much of a demand even for schools being run for profit in the rural areas of the state.
The government appears to be hardly bothered. I wonder if there would be like-minded people who would be interested in this venture.