The UNESCO’s report on the situation of schools in India has revealed some shocking details. As per the report, titled “UNESCO 2021 State of the Education Report for India: No Teachers, No Class”, as many as 11.6 lakh positions for teachers in India lie vacant. This translates to 19.1 percent of the total posts for teachers in the country. The crisis escalates as 69 percent of the total vacancies are in rural areas.
The report suggests that India is facing an acute shortage of educators as 1.1 lakh schools are running with a single teacher each. The report exposed the state of the Indian education system and mentioned that millions of the vacancies remain unfilled by the government. This comes at a time when unemployment is at its peak in the country and millions of young people are competing for government jobs, particularly in the teaching profession.
The report correlates this data with increased dropout rates in primary schools and strongly recommends having better working conditions and wages for the teachers. The state with the most vacancies – over 1 lakh – is Uttar Pradesh (3.3 lakh; 80 percent in rural areas), followed by Bihar (2.2 lakh; 89 percent in rural areas) and West Bengal (1.1 lakh; 89 percent in rural areas).
Lack of basic infrastructure is making things worse . Teachers are also underqualified. Citing 2019’s data, the report says 7.7 percent pre-primary, 4.6 percent primary, 3.3 percent upper primary, and 0.8 percent secondary teachers are underqualified. The gender ratio in the teaching profession is balanced as women’s participation accounts for 50 percent of the total number. According to reports, Chandigarh has the highest number of female teachers with 82 percent, followed by Goa (80 percent), Delhi (74 percent), and Kerala (78 percent). Tripura (32 percent) has the least number of female teachers among all the states in the country. However, Rural areas of the country are suffering from fewer female teachers. The proportion of female teachers in rural areas is only 28 percent compared to 63 percent in urban areas.
It’s been more than 50 years since the National Education Policy (NEP) recommended the government to spend 6 percent of its GDP on education. However, the 2019-20 Economic Survey says that India only spent 3.1 percent on education out of its total GDP.
The report suggests that learning outcomes in India have been poor because more than half of Indian schools are underfunded. The ‘Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan’ – a central government programme for school education and teacher training, is mostly funded by the union government. The India Spend report says that India spent only 2 percent of its GDP in 2018-2019 on the ‘Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan’ scheme, which is not enough to train teachers in the country.