Government opts for volunteers to meet teacher shortfall in Science, Mathematics and EnglishSelection will begin after local governments provide a list of vacant positions.
As the numbers of teachers continue to fall short in public schools, the government is preparing to appoint volunteers to curb the problem. Hundreds of state-run schools lack qualified teachers for Science, English and Mathematics.
The Ministry of Education endorsed the Teaching Volunteers Mobilisation Working Procedure to manage the selection of volunteers to teach the three subjects. The volunteers will teach for a year, starting with the new academic session set to begin from mid-April.
The teaching volunteers will get a stipend between Rs 24,000 and Rs 32,000 depending on their qualifications and the level they are teaching at. They will be hired on two levels, grades 6 to 8 and grades 9 to 12, and must have a minimum qualification of the bachelor’s degree.
The selection process will begin after collecting the list of exact vacancies in each local federal unit, reads the working procedure. The ministry has asked the respective local governments to compile the list of needed teachers and send the request to it. There are 753 local governments across the country.
The respective schools will sign a one-year contract with the selected volunteers and will pay them from the budget released by the federal government. The government has allocated Rs 1.50 billion for the programme for the current fiscal year.
A recent study by a task force led by Mahashram Sharma, a former secretary, shows 73,938 teaching positions are vacant in the state-funded schools. The numbers of public schools, also called community schools, stands are around 29,000 across the country.
The study completed in October shows among 6,501 secondary schools only 71 – around one percent—have the teachers for all subjects. Similarly, only 333 public lower-secondary (grades 6 to 8) among 9,859 have all the subject teachers. “The problem of inadequate subject teachers will end once the hiring of the volunteers begins,” said Deepak Sharma, spokesperson for the ministry.
The study shows that there is a shortfall of Science teachers at the highest number of community schools, followed by Mathematics and English. As many as 5,291 secondary and 8,444 lower-secondary schools don’t have science teachers while the numbers of the schools lacking Mathematics teachers are 4,899 at the secondary and 7,798 at the lower-secondary level.
The lack of subject teachers in the three subjects is blamed for the student’s poor performance in those subjects in the Secondary Education Examinations. The different government reports suggest that the students are faring poorly in three subjects, which is reflected even in the Secondary School Examinations. Education experts say while it is good to moblise the volunteers, the government should also look for a long-term solution to the problem.
“The youth with potential don’t see teaching as an attractive profession. Some measures should be adopted to increase respect towards teaching,” said Binay Kusiyait, a professor at Tribhuvan University who has done research on school education. He said opening of avenues for easy promotion and increasing pay and perks could be a solution to the problem.