Government school crisis: Critical to win back trust of students - The Tribune India

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Government school crisis

Critical to win back trust of students

Government school crisis

Photo for representation. File photo

AS many as 30,000 posts of teacher are lying vacant in government schools in Haryana, reveals a report submitted by the state government in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The affidavit claims that a process has been initiated for direct recruitment of 7,575 trained graduate teachers (TGTs) and 4,526 post-graduate teachers (PGTs). Even after the hiring, the gap between the required and the actual strength would remain large. Why such a mismatch fails to trigger sweeping reform confounds logic. Lack of funds is a lazy excuse. It all boils down to priorities.

According to a survey conducted for the 7-14 age group, the number of out-of-school children in the state has increased to 31,068 in the present academic session from 28,139 in the previous one. The government claims that follow-up action is an established practice. The numbers, it would agree, demand a relook at the strategy. It’s not only the faculty shortage or the absence of basic facilities, such as benches, drinking water and toilets, that has come to be associated with government schools, especially in rural areas. Allegations of sexual assault and harassment of girl students by principals in Jind and Kaithal sent shockwaves across the region. A similar incident was reported from Punjab. Only stringent action and a robust grievance redressal mechanism will send out a message of security and safety. Winning back the trust of students and parents entails inculcating a culture of caring and a continuous engagement that inspires confidence. Piecemeal, half-hearted measures only add to the perception of disinterest towards government schools.

On a petition by Kaithal villagers demanding the safety of students attending classes in a dilapidated building, the high court has been seeking reports about infrastructural requirements and manpower. The judicial overview raises hopes of a course correction.

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