Over 36,500 posts of teachers are lying vacant in schools of all levels across Assam, the state Assembly was informed on Wednesday. In a written reply to a query by AGP MLA Utpal Dutta, Education Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya said a total of 36,523 teaching posts are vacant at present, including 17,293 posts in primary schools.
Out of these 17,293, he said, 10,137 are in lower primary and 7,156 are in upper primary schools. In high, higher and Madrasa schools, a total of 19,230 teaching posts are lying vacant across the state, he added.
Out of the high, higher and Madrasa schools, 63 principals, 512 vice principals, 1,353 subject teachers, 956 headmasters, 235 assistant headmasters, 15,923 assistant teachers and 188 demonstrators are lying vacant.
During the Question Hour, AIUDF MLA Ananta Kumar Malo asked Bhattacharya the reasons for the large number of vacancies. Mr Bhattacharya said, schools usually do not inform the Education Department about a teacher retiring till the person's last day in office, and it takes time to appoint a new one following a procedure which is lengthy.
"Now we are asking the schools to inform us 180 days before a teacher retires, so that we can start the process and appoint a new teacher on time," Mr Bhattacharya said.
BJP MLA Debananda Hazarika, however, said school inspectors of every district know the exact retiring date of each teacher. "Therefore, the inspector can easily inform the higher authorities of the department and the appointment process can be started immediately," Mr Hazarika added.
To a separate question by Congress legislator Abdul Khaleque, Mr Bhattacharya said the student-teacher ratio in lower primary and upper primary schools should be 30:1 and 35:1 respectively, but currently it is lower than the prescribed limit.
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