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Maharashtra Held Its Evaluation Tests For Teachers, And The Results Were Shocking

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By Prachi Salve:

In February 2015, the western state of Maharashtra held its annual evaluation tests for teachers of government-run schools, those who teach (a) classes I to V and (b) classes VI to VIII.

These were the results:

Source: Mahatet
Source: Mahatet

Only 1% of more than 245,800 primary teachers who took the test passed.

Upper-primary teachers did better, somewhat — 4.9% cleared the tests.

This is the situation in a state where 99% of children aged 6 to 14 years are officially enrolled in schools, and there are 25 teachers for each student, near the global average.

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Photo Credit

In the wake of Teacher Eligibility Tests [introduced after the Right to Education Act, 2009] and the high proportion of candidates who fail to clear the examination – there are people who argue that subject knowledge is poor among our teachers. They point out that it is the quality of teacher – her/his mastery over subjects, pedagogic skills and aptitude to teach that is perhaps responsible for poor learning” wrote Vimala Ramachandran of the National University for Educational Planning and Administration, an affiliate of the human resource development (HRD) ministry, in a study.

Many of them argue that people enter the teaching profession as a last resort — when they have no other option,” wrote Ramachandran.

Teaching as an option of last resort might explain a key problem in India’s education system.

Less than one in five teachers adequately trained

In an effort to boost the quality of teaching in government schools, the union government in 2011 launched a programme under the universal education programme, or Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, to support states and union territories for annual, in-service teacher training programmes.

Teacher eligibility tests check performance, based on training modules designed by states.

Source: <a href=

There are 4.5 lakh or 0.4 million untrained elementary school teachers, according to Smriti Irani, HRD minister. The central programme has trained only 19.2% of teachers up to 2013-14.

So much has improved—and, yet, quality plunges

Despite spending Rs 586,085 crore ($94 billion) over the last decade on primary education, India has been unable to arrest the decline in learning. The quality of teaching and teachers, millions of them untrained or under-trained, is now emerging as a key problem.

A recent United Nations report showed that some basic indicators such as enrolment and access have improved:

• Over 12 years, India has reduced its out-of-school children (enrolment rate) by more than 90%.

• Universal primary education has been achieved, 99% of children (6-14 years) in school.

• India had a ratio of 35 pupils for every teacher in 2012, up from 40 in 2000—the second highest in South Asia after Bhutan—but behind the global average of 24 pupils for every teacher.

Despite these improvements, learning outcomes in India have fallen.

Only a fourth of all children in class III can read a class II text fluently, a drop of more than 5% over four years, according to the 2014 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) report by Pratham, a non-government organisation (NGO) working in the field of education.

A quarter of children in class III could not recognise numbers between 10 and 99, a drop of 13% over four years.

What goes in, exceeds what comes out

The focus of the government’s education policy has been to spend more money – in other words, inputs. India’s elementary education budget has increased almost two-fold, from Rs 18,439.6 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 32,940.7 crore, in 2015-16. This has not translated into improved learning outcomes.

While the government spent money on building schools, hiring teachers, providing free textbooks, uniforms and mid-day meals, the net enrolment in government schools went down, and enrolment in private schools rose, especially in primary schools, according to the ASER study.

Between 2007 and 2013, according to data released by the District Information System for Education (DISE), a division of the HRD ministry, enrolment in primary schools (classes I to V) peaked in 2011 at 137 million, while upper-primary enrolment (classes VI to VII) rose from 51 million to about 67 million.

During this period, enrolment in government schools (classes I to VIII) declined by about 11.7 million, from 133.7 million to 121 million; enrolment in private schools went up by 27 million, from 51 million to 78 million.

A Public-School Teacher’s View

Seema, a municipal school teacher in suburban Mumbai—who asked that her last name and the name of her school not be used—told IndiaSpend that half her job had nothing to do with teaching.

“The first half of my day goes in getting children to school from their homes and then making sure that these children are regular,” said Seema. “Once they stop coming to school regularly, they tend to forget what was taught to them and hence lose interest.”

Most children who come to government schools are often the first generation from a family to attend school,” said Seema. “So, things like coming to school on time regularly, dressing for school and basic behavioural rules have to be taught to them. Students in private schools can afford tuitions and sometimes get help at home, while public school students are solely dependent on what is taught to them in school.”

“One of the main reasons for the poor performance of students in public school is the lack of involvement by parents. In private schools, parents are more involved, from getting them to school and making sure they learn in school. Free education received at public schools somehow loses its value in the eyes of parents and students.”

The dismal results of the teacher evaluation exams, Seema said, indicated that institutions offering a Diploma in Education (D.Ed), the minimum qualification to be a teacher, are failing with the basics. This, she added, raised “serious questions” about the efficacy of these colleges, most run by political leaders.


This article was originally published by IndiaSpend.

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  1. B

    Most primary school teachers are either housewives or young girls desperate to fill a gap of one year between their bachelors and masters, those who can’t find a well-paying job or one of their choice, who apply for the crucial post of a teacher, but bring disrepute to the esteemed profession by spending their time gossiping in staffrooms, reach their classes late, don’t take any initiative, who are there to pass their time, and then people wonder why primary school teachers earn meagre salaries.

    What is most surprising is the lack of lessons that teachers are given in primary schools. They spend half their day with ‘free’ lessons, where they can make sure that parents are encouraged to send their children to school in a professional manner. But that would mean having to sacrifice their precious ‘socializing’ time.

    Even with an incredible amount of free time, just the way notebooks are corrected, with more than half the errors absolutely disregarded, shows just why education takes a back seat in Pakistan. It is a shame and an absolute disregard for a profession that was supposed to be the backbone of society, and the ‘mother of all professions’.

    Many children are sent to school in untidy uniforms, without water bottles, missing tiffins, incomplete homework, etc, courtesy of irresponsible parents, but instead of writing notes in students’ diaries or calling parents up, most teachers are either indifferent or punish students over the fault of their parents.

    It is common sense that a little boy or girl does not choose to come to school unprepared for classroom lessons, in an unclean uniform without a tie/belt, or without nutritious food or a water bottle. Instead of children receiving love in school, they become a target of frustration that many teachers bring from home to schools. Children, mostly boys, are at the receiving end as they are yelled at, slapped, beaten, caned, made to stand outside classrooms, humiliated, and a variety of punishments abuses. Girls usually get away with a warning in our fair world of equality.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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