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2,711 teachers’ post vacant; no Headmaster in 1,507 schools

Pry edn hampered in Sylhet Divn

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19th-Mar-2017       
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Sylhet Correspondent :
Academic activities at government primary schools across the Sylhet Division are being seriously disrupted due to shortage of teachers.
Some 2,711 posts of schoolteachers are now vacant 1,507 for headmasters. Official Source said.
Although assistant teachers are filling in for the headmasters, the overstretched teachers find it difficult to concentrate on the class. This eventually affects the quality of education, said teachers and leaders of primary teachers' associations of Sylhet.
There are around 4,951 state-run primary schools in the Sylhet Division.
Educationists have long been pointing out that shortage of teachers is a big hurdle to ensure quality education, and that the only way to overcome this is to recruit adequate qualified teachers.
Anam uddin headteacher of Paschim bhag Government Primary School in Dakshin Surma upazila and two other teachers are taking care of their 330 students for months now.
"We have Six posts for teachers, but we are just the three of us at the moment. We actually had four teachers, but one of them is now working in another school on deputation. This has made our job even more difficult," He added.
Asked how they take care of everything, he said, "We are facing problems in carrying out academic activities, but we have no choice. The teachers take extra pressure as they need to hold classes. I also try my best to manage the classes."
He said the authorities repeatedly assured them of appointing teachers, but nothing actually happened. "Still my school is doing well."
President of Bangladesh Government Primary Head teachers Association Sylhet, said it was extremely difficult to ensure quality education with only one or two teachers.
"Things get really difficult when the head teachers go to the district or upazila education offices for official purposes. During those times, only two or three assistant teachers have to look after everything," he said.
"Primary schools have four teachers on average. If one teacher attends training, falls sick or goes on leave, children's education suffers badly."
About the crisis of headmasters, he said the head teachers played a vital role in almost every school activity -- from managing daily schedule and the staff to implementing academic calendar to monitoring co-curricular activities.
The assistant teachers filling in for the post often find it difficult to make many decisions, he added.
Every year, a huge number of posts fall vacant temporarily, but for a significant period, because of training, retirement, resignation and death, said officials from primary and mass education ministry.
Besides, many female teachers take maternity leave while others take leave for medical reasons or to perform hajj. It takes several months to fill the posts, they added.
Also, there was a long-standing wrangle over the qualification for teachers to be promoted to the post of head teacher. In fact, several cases have been filed over a government decision on recruiting head teachers, adding to the present crisis.
Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal, ndc, director general of the Directorate of Primary Education, said a process of recruiting teachers was underway.
"We're almost at the final stage of appointing around 4,000 teachers under freedom fighters' quota.
He said the government was recruiting teachers from time to time, around 1.45 lakh in the last seven years alone. "But if we follow the student-teacher ratio as per our National Education Policy-2010, we will have to hire more teachers."
Under the 2010 policy, there should be one teacher for each 30 students by next year. As of December last year, the ratio is 1:38, according to the Directorate of Primary Education.

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