UNESCO reports poor working conditions of teachers in Northeast and "aspirational districts"
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released its annual report titled 2021 State of the Education Report for India: No Teacher, No Class. The report states that the working conditions of teachers in the Northeast and "aspirational districts" are poor. In particular, basic amenities are lacking.
There is a marked rural-urban disparity, with the former having poor information and communications technology infrastructure and very few libraries, UNESCO reported.
The availability and deployment of qualified teachers in the Northeastern must be prioritized, with the report claiming that "In fifteen years, about 30 per cent of the current workforce will need to be replaced".
Availability and deployment of subject teachers are also not well documented and monitored. "Almost all single-teacher schools are in rural areas", says the report.
According to the report, the teaching profession has an "average status" in India, but it is a career of choice for women and youth from rural areas in particular.
The report has called for more "professional autonomy" for teachers: "Teacher workload is high – contrary to public perception – although invisible, and a source of stress. Teachers value being given professional autonomy, and disregard of this is demotivating".
Although the profession is overall gender-balanced, with women accounting for about 50 per cent of the teaching workforce, there are significant inter-state and urban-rural variations.
The UNESCO report has revealed that the country has an acute shortage of teachers, with rural schools falling far behind the mark, especially in districts with a high population of scheduled caste and tribe populations.
Prepared using data from the Unified District Information System for Education, the report has also found that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability and insecurity of teachers.
(Edited by Aparmita Das)
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