Teachers teach only for 42 days in a year!
The Right to Education Act (2009) mandates that there should be 220 school days for classes VI to VIII (upper primary) in an academic year, and 200 school days for classes for I to V (primary), but, on an average, a teacher spends hardly 42 days teaching his/her students. And what do they do the rest of the days? They perform activities which have nothing to do with their primary job of teaching. They are on election duties, carry out various government surveys, go out to distribute polio vaccines in their communities, and maintain mid-day meal registers.
These are the findings of a study conducted in five states-- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa and Uttarakhand-- by National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The study revealed that 81% of teachers’ time is spent as Block Level Officers (BLOs), conducting surveys and duties in the election year of the remaining 81 per cent, 42.6 per cent of the teacher’s time is spent in non-teaching core activities, 31.8 per cent in non-teaching school-related activities and 6.5 per cent on other department activities.
There are over 14 lakh schools in the country, around 11 lakh government and 3 lakhs private. There are 14 crore children studying in public-funded schools, and about 47.3 lakh teachers to teach them.
Primary teachers are most involved in non-educational duties. It adversely affects the learning outcomes among children, and slowly children lose interest in studies. No wonder then that 36 per cent of students drops out before completing primary education in India.
The study found that since considerable academic time is lost during the elections, the provision of minimum 220 academic days as per the Schedule u/s 19 of the RTE 2009 remains unfulfilled, leading to violation of an important provision of the Act.
According to a report by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, most of the total 9,28,237 polling stations in the 2014 general elections were located in school buildings. During the 10 days spent in preparing the school for polling day, mid-day meal was not served in the schools. It deprived children of nutrition and the fundamental right to development. And the situation was no different in the 2019 elections.