UP Sanskrit schools reeling under acute teacher shortage

Sanskrit schools in Uttar Pradesh are in trouble. Of the 958 Sanskrit schools offering the subject from classes 6 to 12, 117 of them do not have a single teacher left, while 58 government-aided Sanskrit-medium secondary schools have already closed down due to a shortage of teachers. Reason for the shortage: recruitment of Sanskrit teachers has been stuck in bureaucratic limbo for the past three decades.

State secondary education minister and deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma said, “We are aware of the acute shortage of teachers in Sanskrit schools of the state. We are in the process of appointing retired Sanskrit teachers in the most-affected schools for the time being and have also decided to fill up the vacant posts on a priority.”

After coming to power, the BJP government in the state had entrusted the responsibility of appointments in Sanskrit schools to the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Service Selection Board (UPSESSB). The Secondary Education department had sent a requisition for the appointment of 1,282 teachers a year ago but recruitments have not started till date, rued a senior teacher of a Prayagraj-based Sanskrit school.

The situation can be understood by the fact that out of 42 Sanskrit schools in Prayagraj district alone, as many as 18 do not have a single teacher left. Three of these schools are ‘open with just peons managing affairs, while one is opening with things being managed by a clerk, the teacher claimed. There are about a dozen schools where there is only one teacher, he added. Seeing the alarming condition of Sanskrit education, Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Sansthan (Lucknow) chairman Vachaspati Mishra had written to deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma on August 16, requesting to arrange for teachers on an honorarium or on contract basis.

“The state government has been informed about the shortage of teachers in Sanskrit schools across the state. I am confident that this problem will be resolved soon,” said Mishra.

State Sanskrit Schools Teachers’ Association vice-president and spokesperson Rajesh Mishra ‘Dheer’ said, “With the recruitment of teachers not having taken place in almost 30 years now, Sanskrit education is taking a serious hit in UP.”

How Many Vacancies and Where

Of the existing 1,282 vacant posts for principals and teachers, the maximum number of over 135 posts is vacant in Varanasi. Though officials are tight-lipped over the issue, according to the Education Directorate information, Varanasi district has 20 posts of principals and 83 posts of assistant teachers vacant, while Ghazipur and Chandauli have a total of around 25 and seven vacant posts, respectively. In Ghazipur, seven posts of principals and 18 posts of assistant teachers are vacant, while in Chandauli one post of principal and six posts of assistant teachers are lying vacant. Similarly, Gorakhpur division has 117 vacant posts including around 52 in Gorakhpur district (nine of principals and 43 of assistant teachers), 24 in Deoria (five of principals and 19 of assistant teachers), 20 in Kushinagar (five of principals and 15 of assistant teachers) and 21 posts in Maharajganj district (four of principals and 17 of assistant teachers). Chitrakoot division on the other hand has 84 vacant posts (Banda-40, Hamirpur-15, Chitrakoot-24 and Mahoba-five) while Jhansi division has 37 (Lalitpur-five, Jhansi-19, Jalaon-13), Agra has 83 (Agra-14, Firozabad-eight, Mainpuri-13), Prayagraj has 64 (Fatehpur-41 and Kaushambi-23), Basti has 65, Azamgarh has 74, Meerut has 53, Mirzapur has 43, Saharanpur has 12, Lucknow has 77, Bareilly has 61, Moradabad has 30, Ayodhya has 66, Devipatan has 54 and Aligarh has 51 vacant posts.

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