The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RtE) Act (2009) aims to ensure that every child is able to attain education and the opportunity to lead a meaningful life. The Act recognizes education as a fundamental right and deems it intrinsic to an individual’s ability to lead a life of dignity and self-reliance. It hopes to create a benchmark for schools around the country by defining the standards to be maintained, how the schools should be managed and how to achieve the goal of providing quality education which enables individuals to become active participants in our society.
The RtE though brings with it a horde of problems, the most important of which is a lack of educators. There aren’t enough teachers to meet the demand that this Act creates. One of the defining aims is to improve the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) and bring it up to 30:1 which seems a tall order to follow as there is a serious shortage of teachers in India. Though the national average of PTR has improved in the last decade or so there is still a huge gap to be filled if the government hopes to provide quality education.
One major reason for this deficiency of qualified educators in our country is the lack of proper training programs for teachers. There aren’t enough recognized institutes offering courses in education. This leads to a low turnout of new teachers. The institutes that do offer these courses have outdated syllabus which results in unemployable skills. The entire course in education needs a remodeling, including the refresher courses for teachers who train this new stream of educators.
Another reason for the dwindling rate of enrollment in such courses is the return a student hopes to get. The salaries earned by teachers are way below those engaged in other professional courses and less than even call center employees in some cases. This proves to be a major hindrance in students taking up this profession. A majority of students who have majored in languages are employed by corporate companies who require trainers and educators while students adept in other subjects prefer taking jobs outside India where there is higher pay grade. Acceptance of Indian educators has increased globally and with more lucrative options abroad students do not consider teaching here a viable choice.
These are two major reasons for the dismal number of teachers in India among many others such as an extremely high attrition rate, under qualified trainers, etc. It is imperative for the students to be given incentives for pursuing a career in teaching if the government hopes to turn The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act into a success. All the participants must be vested in the aim of procuring a bright future for the children who exercise their right to be educated as well as of those that make it their life to make sure this right is granted.