1 in 5 elementary school teachers lacks qualifications

A recent nation-wide research study found that one out of every five regular elementary-school teachers does not have professional qualifications to teach. When it comes to contractual teachers, who made up 6.5% of the total number in 2013-14, just over half had professional qualifications. Smaller states and those in the North-East had the fewest qualified teachers.

Based on data reported by the states and territories of the union, the study found a wide range among the states in the percentage of regular teachers who have professional qualifications to teach. Delhi and Gujarat top the list with 100% of the teachers reported to hold qualifications, while Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh bottom out in the 31-29% range.

In addition, many states also supplement their staff with teachers hired on a contract basis, many of whom have even fewer qualifications. For example, in Meghalaya 10% of the elementary teachers are hired on a contract basis, and only 11% of them have professional qualifications. In Mizoram 19.2% of the teachers are contractual, and 21.1% have qualifications. In West Bengal, 9.7% of the teachers are contractual, and 20% are qualified.

As reported by the Economic Times, one of the issues is the lack of teacher-training colleges, according to Anita Rampal, a professor at Delhi University’s Department of Education.

As a consequence, the state of the education system in the North East has been unsatisfactory for a while now. In Assam, where the number of trained teachers was at just 39% in 2014, the number was nearly the same, 39.8%, about seven years ago. In Arunachal Pradesh 35% of the teachers had qualifications in 2007, but that number dropped to the mid-20s until coming back up to 29% in 2014. In Mizoram, by contrast, the rate went up from 60.5% in 2007 to a high of 70.2% in 2010, but fell back to 43.8% in 2014. Tripura and Sikkim have shown minute improvements.

Meanwhile, some states have seen a decline in the ratio of qualified teachers. In Bihar, the percentage of qualified teachers has dropped from 62% to 43%. In West Bengal, it has gone from 75% in 2006-07 to 49% in 2013-14.

On the importance of having school staff who are properly trained, as Rampal says in the article, “Just knowing a subject or being a graduate is not sufficient qualification to become an elementary school teacher. You need to be trained in understanding the learning process of children, their diversity, and you need to develop necessary teaching skills under trained supervision”.

This data show that even though it is mandatory for states to hire teachers with the appropriate qualifications in schools, these laws are being ignored by state governments and educational institutions. The lack of teachers training colleges across the country is also a major concern that contributes to the poor quality of teaching staff available.

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