New Delhi: Ghost teachers, who are on payrolls but do not turn-up to take classes, habitual absenteeism among other teachers, and private tuition replacing regular classes are major factors undermining the education system in India, according to a recent study by Unesco.
India stands second, next only to Uganda, in absenteeism among teachers in primary schools with 25% of teachers missing from classes, according to the study titled: Corrupt Schools, Corrupt Universities: What Can Be Done?
The study, conducted by Unesco’s International Institute for Education Planning, assesses the nature and extent of the problem of corruption in education worldwide, evaluates how much it costs the government and society, and identifies ways to address it.
Terming education an “endangered resource”, the report says absenteeism costs 22.5% of the salary budget earmarked for teachers in India. The figures varied from state to state. In Gujarat, the rate of teacher absenteeism was 17%, while it was 38% in Bihar.
Pointing out that the absenteeism directly impacts the performance of students, the reports says: “Teacher absenteeism is a key variable that policymakers should not overlook if they want their plans to be efficiently put in practice.”
The report lists low salaries, the lack of incentives, poor school infrastructure, a weak monitoring system, and decline in ethical values among teachers as some factors responsible for absenteeism.
Expressing concern at private tuition taking precedence over regular classes, the report cited a survey which says 39.2% of students in Delhi receive private tuition.
In Pakistan, the report says, the tutoring malaise is a shade worse as some tuition centres are run by the very people who draft question papers. These people are willing to leak the examination paper for a fee, says the report. It also says that Indians are more than willing to pay a high price for question papers of popular competitive examinations.
In India, it adds, the going rate for a question paper could be as much as $20,000 (Rs8.2 lakh). The report cites the instance of $300,000 being collected by con-men purportedly selling the question paper for the national medical entrance examination.