Huge dropout rate affecting education in West Bengal

August 11th, 2008 - 10:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 11 (IANS) Only 60 million out of 200 million children in the age-group 6 to 14 years go to school in West Bengal. The state is also short of 5,000 school teachers in rural and semi-urban areas, an official said Monday. “According to state government records, 120 million out of 200 million children between 6 to 14 years go to school in West Bengal. But if we consider the huge number of drop outs, the figure stands at around 60 million,” West Bengal Central School Service COmmission (WBCSSC) chairman Ranjit Kumar Basu told IANS on the sidelines of a workshop.

“We are talking about increasing the quality of students in West Bengal. But the quantity of students and condition of schools and education is so poor in rural and semi-urban areas that no development can take place unless the government intervenes,” he said. The workshop, ‘Top Quality Management (TQM) in school Education’, was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

Basu said West Bengal is short of about 5,000 school teachers in rural and semi-urban areas.

“There are 15,047 vacancies in West Bengal schools, about 50 percent of them are in the rural and semi-rural areas. But we have been able to arrange for only 10,332 posts this year,” Basu said.

“In most rural schools, the teacher-student ratio is 1:80. Many of the schools are one-roomed. Besides the poor infrastructure, students have to go without drinking water and toilet facilities in most places.”

Stating the reason for teachers refusing to go to rural Bengal, Basu said it’s because of their mindset.

“There is no difference between the salary in rural and urban schools. Though teachers don’t directly refuse to go to remote areas, they apply for transfers within a few months. Maximum tenure of a teacher from Kolkata posted in a village school is three years.”

“Their mindset is responsible for this. Teachers tend to forget that their job is to spread education. If teachers are unwilling to go to schools, how can we expect children to be regular at studies!” he added.

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