Working conditions of teachers in northeastern, ambitious districts are bad: UNESCO report – Times of India

New Delhi: The working conditions of teachers in the Northeast and “ambitious districts” are poor and there are rural-urban disparities in terms of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure as well as basic facilities, a UNESCO report said.

The report titled ‘2021 State of the Education Report for India: No Teacher, No Class’ further states that although the availability of teachers has improved, the student-teacher ratio is still negative in secondary schools.

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There is a shortage of more than 1 million teachers in the current student body of educational staff, and the lack of teachers at some level of education and the curriculum of early childhood education, special education, physical education, music, arts, and vocational education, the report said. “In fifteen years, about 30 percent of current employees will need replacements,” it said.

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“There is a clear need to improve the availability and deployment of qualified teachers in the northeastern states of India. Infrastructure is very low, and there is rural-urban disparity.

“Although teacher availability has improved, the student-teacher ratio is negative in secondary schools. Moreover, there is no data on the availability of special education, music, arts and physical education teachers. The availability and recruitment of subject teachers is not very well documented and monitored. Teacher schools are in rural areas, ”the report said.

The report, published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), notes that the teaching profession in India has an “average status”, but is a preferred occupation, especially among rural women and youth.

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It said, “Private school teachers and early childhood education teachers are a high-risk group, many of whom work without a low-paid contract, with no health or maternity leave benefits.”

Calling for more “professional autonomy” for teachers, the report said, “The workload of teachers is high – contrary to popular belief – albeit invisible, and a source of stress. Teachers are being given professional autonomy, and ignoring it is demotivating.”

“Teachers’ voices on policy and governance can be improved through professional teacher networks and unions. Most accountability systems focus on monitoring. Professional development rather than accountability.”

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The report, prepared using data from the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), also found that the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic exposed teachers’ vulnerability and insecurity.

“The profession as a whole is gender balanced, with about 50 per cent of teaching staff being women, but with significant inter-state and urban-rural diversity,” it said.

“Particular attention needs to be paid to rural areas, high Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe districts and all across the Northeast, where the teacher-to-student ratio needs to be improved and rationalized. These ‘difficult situation for staff’ areas also need to be improved. More state support is needed for the program, “the report recommends.

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