Finding qualified teachers remains difficult in Bihar despite vacancies | Education - Hindustan Times
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Finding qualified teachers remains difficult in Bihar despite vacancies

By, Patna
Oct 19, 2023 03:06 PM IST

Despite the announcement of results by the BPSC in the single largest recruitment exercise, the quest for qualified teachers for Bihar schools will continue.

Despite the announcement of results by the BPSC in the single largest recruitment exercise, the quest for qualified teachers for Bihar schools will continue.

Finding qualified teachers remains difficult in Bihar despite vacancies
Finding qualified teachers remains difficult in Bihar despite vacancies

Despite the announcement of results by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) in the single largest recruitment exercise, the quest for qualified teachers for Bihar schools will continue, as it has been for over a decade.

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With just 122324 candidates qualifying against 1.70-lakh vacancies, the results have once again underlined the problems in finding qualified teachers, especially in the secondary and higher secondary schools, which has been continuing for years.

In higher secondary, 23701 candidates qualified against 57602 vacancies, while in secondary 26204 cleared against 32916 vacancies. In primary, which had the highest vacancy, 72419 candidates could qualify against 79943 vacancies after omitting B.Ed degree holders as per the Supreme Court directive.

Overall pass percentage was 72%, leaving 48137 seats still vacant, which would be merged with the next round of recruitment. The number of applicants for higher secondary was inadequate at around 37000, which is also matter of concern in a state that is producing thousands of graduates and post-graduates every year despite huge unemployment.

However, the matter of concern is lack of qualified teachers interested in higher secondary, in which just 41% of the seats could be filled despite low cut-offs. The results also have huge variation. While English is considered the Achilles heel for Bihar students, a maximum of 66% vacancies could be filled in it, while in Hindi it was just 17%. In key science subjects like Physics and Chemistry, just 22% seats could be filled. Most subjects have got just around 30% of the required teachers or even less.

The last teachers’ eligibility test (TET) for secondary teachers conducted in 2011 had also laid bare the quality of teacher aspirants in Bihar. In physics, which is taught in class 9-12, just three trained teachers could qualify in 2011, besides five untrained. In chemistry, math, botany, English and other subjects, the pass percentage of trained teachers was just a small fraction, not enough to meet the requirement of even 5% of teachers posts in around 6900 schools.

The problem has worsened in the secondary schools upgraded to higher secondary level. Though the government upgraded secondary schools having own buildings to higher secondary in 2013 itself to make one in each panchayat available, the crisis of qualified teachers remained unresolved, though a large number of students kept getting enrolled and passing each year.

The matter first drew serious attention in 2017 only following the abysmal Bihar board results. The then Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh had also admitted that in English, mathematics and science subjects, finding qualified teachers was proving difficult. The difficulty continues till date.

The quality got exposed yet again in August 2022 when Barely 3.22% teachers could qualify the first-ever exam for the post of headmasters (HMs) in the government schools, conducted by the BPSC, reflecting the quality of education in the state once again. Against 6421 vacancies released for the post of HMs, only 421 could qualify, leaving 97% posts vacant.

This was so when the minimum score in the merit list for general category and economically backward upper castes was 40%, while it was 36.5% for backward classs, 34% for extremely backward classes and 32% for SC/ST, women and physically challenged.

Patna University registrar and former principal of Patna Training College Khagendra Kumar said it should be a wake up call for the government, as things would only deteriorate further no matter how many types of exams are planned, as the trend clearly indicates good talents are no more interested in teaching.

“Bihar is perhaps the only state where the original cadre of teachers was declared a dying cadre and the result has been frequent agitations for hikes and government employee status every few years. If the candidates are not qualifying and vacancies remain vacant despite low cut offs, it raises a question mark over the entire education system, which is producing so many graduates and so many private B.Ed colleges are distributing certificates,” he added.

Maintaining that the trend was dangerous and could have a bearing on all other streams of employment in coming years, he said it was a clear indication that teaching job no more attracted youth, who consider becoming a sub-inspector or even clerical government job a better option. “Bihar has no dearth of talented students. The only problem is good ones are not interested. It is high time the original teaching cadre is revived and faith in the system is restored. Else, exam after exam will yield no positive result.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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