Special Correspondent

Steps initiated to fill 27,000 teacher posts, he says

Process to begin in six months time

Immediate steps to save primary education demanded

BHUBANESWAR: State School and Mass Education Minister Pratap Jena had to face volley of questions from legislators belonging to both ruling as well as opposition parties over the acute shortage of teachers in primary and secondary high schools across the State. The Minister failed to give satisfactory replies to several queries from the legislators belonging to opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Biju Janata Dal.

Mr. Jena was replying to a question by Nationalist Congress Party legislator from Badachana constituency Amar Prasad Satpathy, who had sought to know about the post of teachers lying vacant in primary schools across the State as on January 31 this year. Many members expressed their concern when Mr. Jena told the House that a total of 51,239 sanctioned posts were lying vacant in primary schools in the State by the end of October last year.

Mr. Jena informed that the government had initiated steps to fill up over 27,000 of these posts and process will begin for filling up of the remaining vacancies within six months time. Although the question and answer session on Mr. Satpathy's question continued for 48 minutes, more than 25 legislators were not given the chance to ask their questions by Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat as the question hour came to an end. Mr. Satpathy said that there was not a single regular teacher in the Badagumuri Upper Primary School in Badachana area even though the school had seven classes. The school had only one Shikhya Sahayak and one Gana Shikhyak.

BJD legislator from Niali seat Pramod Mallick cited an example in his constituency where one science teacher was teaching in four schools due to shortage of science teacher, and the lone teacher was not attending classes in any of those four schools.

BJD MLA from Bhahmagiri seat Sanjay Kumar Das Burma said that in many schools construction of new buildings was not possible as there were no regular teacher to sign the necessary agreement. Several legislators from the western region of the State complained about shortage of teachers in various schools in their areas and demanded immediate steps to be to taken by the government to save the primary education.