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Phantom teachers
Absence of dedicated staff encourages truancy in schools

For students, sincerity & commitment are two words that act as metaphor for success. Conversely, the same level of commitment (sometimes even higher) is also expected from the teachers. However, the scenario in the Indian education sector seems bleak and futile. From teacher absenteeism, private tuition, bribery to manipulation of entrance test - all these malices are prominent in this sector. In India, teacherís absenteeism varies from 17% to 38%, which costs around 22.5% of the teacherís salary budget (90% of total budget is devoted to teacherís salary). A study by Harvard and World Bank reveals that around 25% of teachers are absent from their respective classes at any given day. It is very evident that the norms of the education have drastically changed; corruption which is the hallmark of politics & bureaucracy, has penetrated into the present education system also. Moreover, the quality of knowledge imparted is so poor (especially in rural schools) that students are unable to solve simple arithmetic problems. This type of unethical practice leads to non-completion of syllabus in schools, which further forces students to take private tuition. Few teachers are reported to teach half of course in school and other half in tuition, thus making it compulsory for all students to join tuition classes. Research shows that around 70% of urban students take tuition & not less than 40% of students in Delhi take tuition from their schoolteachers itself. Schoolteachers make hefty money out of this, as parents pay through their nose. The situation gets worse in case of government schools, where the truant rate is very high and the action against teachers is next to zero.

It seems that the core value of this sacrosanct system is getting paler in the rat race of making money. It not only leads to economical loss but also acts as a sort of torture for millions of pupils who wake up early morning, hoping to learn a new lesson of life.

Sray Agarwal

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