While on one hand the Government seems to be making strides in girl’s education, as lauded by a UN report, on the other there appears fissures and cracks as soon as a positive opinion is formed.
In what must sound as alarming, the government schools in Delhi are running short of teachers as is evident from a latest notification for enrollment of volunteers in teaching line.
As the report goes, “For the first time a mobile app is being developed in collaboration with MyGov by the ministry of HRD to enlist citizens who are willing to volunteer as teachers. Eighteen states expressed their willingness to participate in the first phase,” as revealed by a media statement issued by the Press Information Bureau.
The government portal mygov.in is a platform where the public can send their views on various issues relating to education.
According to a ministry functionary, the Centre had left it to states to decide on the criteria for selecting these teachers and how much they would be paid, if at all. “These teachers could be anybody… retired teachers, retired military personnel. They will help in remedial coaching in rural schools.”
The same official also told about a pilot project to be launched from April in 18 states, including Chhattisgarh, Assam, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Goa and Tripura.
However, dissent is already fuming with Professor Anil Sadgopal, a former member of the Central Advisory Board of Education that had examined the right to education bill in 2005, questioning the need for volunteer teachers when there was a provision for hiring regular teachers.
“This is to allow any person with an RSS background to go to school and teach what they think is correct,” Sadgopal said, referring to the ruling BJP’s ideological fulcrum.
But, Mukul Kanitkar, organizing secretary of RSS affiliate Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal, commenting on Sadgopal’s statement added that this was a government proposal.
“Where is the RSS coming in? Sadgopal’s comments are too stretched. He wants to politicize the scheme.”
Sadgopal further added that the government, under the RTE Act, could hire only those who had formal training and had cleared the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET). “They have coined the word volunteer teacher to give space to unqualified people. The sufferers will be children of Dalits, tribals, poor and the backward classes,” Sadgopal said.
According to Professor Anita Rampal, another educationist, accused the government of “abdicating” its responsibility. “These teachers with no professional experience will jeopardize the future of children,” she said.
The accusations on RSS and other concerns shown by the leading dissenters are worth to note. The result of recruiting volunteers would, however, only show in the near future.