The Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) for tribal students across the country are currently functioning with just 58% of the teachers required to do so, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday in response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Mr. Kharge had asked the government whether there are a large number of vacancies in positions at these EMRSs across the country and sought an explanation for the same. He had also sought a list of State-wise vacancies and sanctioned posts in such schools.
In response, the Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh Saruta said, “As per data submitted by States, there are 394 functional schools with 1,05,463 students as some of the schools running only few classes. The proportionate teachers requirement is 7,030 and presently available teachers are 4,138.”
She added that as per guidelines issued by the Nation Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), the Central government agency responsible for managing the schools, each EMRS is supposed to have a strength of 480 students, for which the minimum staff requirement should be 52 (32 teaching staff and 20 non-teaching staff).
This comes after The Hindu had reported earlier this year that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is in the process of fixing the issues of teacher shortage in EMRSs by shifting control of recruitment to NESTS from the State societies, which have so far been responsible for this.
Officials had said that while NESTS was formed and given powers to issue guidelines on these aspects, they are not binding on the State societies. This resulted in a shortage of teachers, as well as a lack of uniformity in the quality and pay of teachers hired for the same positions.
Even after the Expenditure Committee approves the proposal to change the recruitment system, officials have maintained that they would need at least one year to start filling the gap in teachers. This was because, once approved, it would entail scrapping of the State societies, and setting up of regional NESTS offices, which will eventually issue recruitment notices and begin the hiring process.