Thursday, September 22, 2005

Teachers Absence in schools in India

A news story about teachers absence from Punjab schools and the lack of teachers in schools there.
Teachers play truant in Punjab schools: WB
Bottom of Class

"A joint survey by Harvard University and World Bank shows that 36 per cent of primary government school teachers in Punjab remain absent every day as against 25 per cent in the rest of India. Worse, even among those who attend school, nearly 49.5 per cent teachers stay away from their classes."

"The report of the Director Public Instruction (DPI) admits that 522 primary schools in the state have closed down because of no teacher, while 1,500 are making do with only one teacher and 7,000 schools have two rooms and teachers each"

The actual study looking at teacher's absence and reasons behind them is here.

From the study absence rates in India are among the second worst from among eight countries for which data was avlaiable.

Peru 11
Ecuador 14
Papua New Guinea 15
Bangladesh 16
Zambia 17
Indonesia 19
India 25
Uganda 27

Among the various states the variation in absence rate is large, from 14% in Maharashtra to 41% in Jharkhand, Bihar 37.8% and 34.4% in Punjab.

Reasons for Teachers Absence:
Quite to the contary perception that teachers salary is the reason for absence, it is not. Infact the more the teachers salary, more the experience they have, the more is the absence rate.
Teacher absence rate is lower in schools with better infrastructure, a potentially important part of working conditions. Infrastructure includes toilets for teachers, electric connection, covered classroom, a library, a paved road to the village.
Schools which have frequent parent-teacher association meetings seem to have lower absence rates. For more details on the reasons and extent to which each affect look at the study.

India is wasting a lot of education budget due to teacher's absence and wasting an oppurtunity to educate our next generation. India should look at different reforms in this area from improving infrastrucutre in schools, to improving monitoring through local efforts etc. These reforms should be monitored to see what works and what doesnt.


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