Myagdi schools fail to attract subject teachersHiring teachers for Science, Mathematics and Computer Science is difficult and those who get appointed request to be transferred to urban areas.
Community schools in Myagdi, a hill district of Gandaki Province, are having a tough time attracting and retaining the subject teachers for Science, Mathematics and Computer Science, which has affected the quality of education in these schools.
Public educational institutes, especially in the rural areas, have failed to hire qualified teachers and retain the already existing ones despite extending provisions for additional incentives, such as free accommodation and food.
“We announced vacancies for Science teachers thrice in the current academic session for Amar Secondary School in Chimkhola but we still haven’t found a suitable candidate. Schools in remote villages are always without Science and Mathematics teachers,” said Krishna Prasad Sharma, the education officer at Raghuganga Rural Municipality.
There are a total of 175 community basic schools and 115 secondary schools in Myagdi. A majority of these schools do not have Science teachers. According to the Education Development and Coordination Unit in Myagdi, only 22 basic schools and as many secondary schools in the district have Science teachers.
According to Sharma, since more than half of the posts for Science, Mathematics and Computer Science teachers in the district’s government schools are vacant, the local units must hire temporary teachers on a contract basis.
The Teacher Service Commission is responsible for conducting examinations and recommending qualified candidates to be appointed in community schools as per the allocated posts. But the hiring process is a lengthy one and it takes months for the commission to find qualified teachers. Until then, it is the responsibility of the local units to fill the posts by hiring temporary teachers.
But teachers of these three specific subjects are reluctant to be appointed on a contract basis on temporary posts, say school operators.
“It is difficult to hire specific subject teachers on a temporary basis since the demand is mostly from government schools in rural areas,” said Sharma. “We find some teachers willing to join but they do not stick around even for the duration of the contract and take up employment offers in the urban centres of the district.”
Although there has always been a dearth of teachers of Science, Mathematics and Computer Science subjects in rural areas, the scarcity has become severe of late since professionals from these fields opt for careers in civil services rather than in teaching.
Many Science teachers in rural areas appointed by the Teacher Service Commission switch their careers and take up civil services, says Dal Bahadur Thapa, chief of the Education Development and Coordination Unit in Myagdi.
According to the Education Development and Coordination Unit, seven Science teachers quit their jobs last year after they passed the civil service examination conducted by the Public Service Commission.
Frequent transfer of teachers is another reason for the shortfall of subject teachers in rural areas, says Thapa.
“Teachers from outside the district are appointed in Myagdi after they pass the Teacher Service Commission exams. But they soon seek transfer to their home districts,” said Thapa.
Both government and private schools in the district, even in the district headquarters, Beni, face a shortage of Science, Mathematics and Computer Science teachers throughout the academic year.
“Schools in Myagdi have a serious problem finding teachers for Science, Mathematics and Computer Science. Even if we find them, it is difficult to retain them. Science is a compulsory subject from grade six to ten but there are hardly any qualified teachers. Those who meet the criteria are not interested in working in remote areas,” said Thapa.
“One Computer Science teacher has to conduct classes in four schools a day. We cannot find qualified teachers to teach the subject,” said Lekh Bahadur Hamal, an assistant headmaster at Prakash Secondary School in Beni. “Since we can’t find qualified candidates, we have to appoint teachers who have only received basic computer training.”
In a bid to address the teacher shortage in the district, Myagdi Multiple Campus, a leading educational institution in Beni, has decided to run bachelor level classes for Science, Computer Science and Information Technology under the education faculty from the upcoming academic session.
“There is a high demand for Science and Computer Science teachers but the district has been unable to produce such teachers. So Myagdi Multiple Campus is preparing to run classes for those subjects,” said Balkrishna Subedi, the chairman of Myagdi Multiple Campus Management Committee. “Tribhuvan University is positive about the decision and the local units have also assured financial support to run the classes.”