Wanted: Science teachers in govt schools

Highest number of vacancies are in Gulbarga district; PCM graduates harder to come by

The fascination for professional courses at the cost of basic sciences has had a telling effect on availability of school teachers.

Due to a drastic dip in Science graduates emerging out of degree colleges, Government High Schools are in the State are now faced with a severe shortage of teachers for Science subjects.

According to the recruitment notification figures for academic year 2009-10, out of the total vacancy of 2,581 teachers at the secondary and higher secondary level, the vacancy for science subjects is the highest at 1,220.  The next highest vacancy is for the eight languages that are taught in government schools with 671 teachers. The number of vacancies for arts subjects are the least, at 416.

Gulbarga tops list

Region-wise, the highest number of vacancies for science are in the Gulbarga region followed by Bangalore, Mysore and Belgaum regions.

Besides the dip in the number of science graduates, officials of the Department of Public Instruction also cited promotions of existing teachers as a reason for the rising teacher vacancies. Besides, graduates are choosing more lucrative job options these days, a Department official said.

Teachers with a B Sc degree in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PCM) were particularly harder to come by as opposed to those specialising in Chemistry, Botany and Zoology (CBZ).

The requirement notification figures lend testimony to this, as the vacancy for PCM graduates stands at 771, as against the 449 for Chemistry, Botany and Zoology.
However, the Director for Secondary Education, Chidreshankaraiah said the higher number of vacancies in science was mainly due to promotions. “Generally we have managed to fill the vacancies but a clearer picture will be available only after recruitment,” he said. But he conceded that there was a dearth in the Hubli region, due to the lack of availability of science graduates.

Promotions

A principal of a government high school concurred, “There are not many new science teachers who are available in the first place. In addition, a number of teachers complete their post-graduation and then seek promotions to the pre-university level.”
In addition to promotions and retirements, some recent changes have intensified the crunch.

The government’s policy of not insisting on a B Ed or even a degree at the primary level has kept primary schools immune. However, a recent strengthening of the syllabus at the primary level has had some impact at the high school level.

Manjunath H K, a principal af a government high school in Hebbal said, “On account of the syllabus becoming harder at the primary level, a higher level of expertise is required. To address this several trainee graduate teachers from the high school have been shifted to the primary level under the ‘Trainee Graduate Teachers (TGT)’ programme.”
But he added that the crunch for science teachers was greater in unaided schools than in government schools.

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