The Bihar Education Department has initiated measures to tackle critical shortages in government schools by ordering the construction of prefabricated classrooms and the appointment of guest teachers. The move comes as an outcome of inspections that uncovered deficits in classroom infrastructure and teaching staff in numerous schools across the state.
Government schools in Bihar have been grappling with shortages in both classrooms and teachers, as indicated by inspection reports submitted by District Magistrates. In response to this pressing issue, the Education Department has directed schools to address these gaps promptly and effectively.
The inspections, which began on July 1, 2023, have revealed a stark reality—many primary and middle schools suffer from discoloured chalkboards, lack proper boundary walls, and face acute shortages of functional toilets. This situation has led to classes being conducted in open spaces or verandahs due to inadequate space in existing classrooms.
In light of these findings, K K Pathak, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of the Education Department, has taken proactive steps to address these issues. Pathak has issued a directive to District Magistrates, emphasizing the urgency of constructing ‘prefabricated classrooms’ on a priority basis to accommodate the growing number of students. These prefabricated classrooms, known for their swift construction and cost-effectiveness, will be tailored to meet the specific requirements of each school.
Pathak’s letter, dated August 26, 2023, also highlights the importance of addressing the shortage of teachers. While the Bihar Public Service Commission has initiated the recruitment process for teachers, the completion of this process is anticipated to take several months. In the meantime, to meet the immediate demand for educators, the Education Department has instructed the appointment of ‘guest teachers’ in accordance with established guidelines.
Guest teachers, along with the introduction of prefabricated classrooms, represent the Education Department’s dedication to bridging the gaps in the education system swiftly and effectively. The ACS has encouraged District Magistrates to take personal responsibility for monitoring the progress of these initiatives.
The move towards prefabricated classrooms not only ensures quick solutions to spatial limitations but also underscores the government’s commitment to providing a conducive learning environment for students. Meanwhile, the appointment of guest teachers will help address the teacher shortage, ensuring that students receive the necessary education and support.
While the Education Department’s efforts are commendable, the situation also underscores the broader challenges faced by the education system. The need for regular inspections and swift responses underscores the importance of continuous monitoring and adaptability in the face of evolving educational requirements.
The ACS’s previous communication, dated August 16, 2023, also highlighted concerns related to discoloured chalkboards, boundary walls, and non-functional toilets. The directive urged District Magistrates to initiate measures to repaint chalkboards and ensure the maintenance of toilets, aligning with the principles of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
Furthermore, ensuring the construction of boundary walls for schools that lack them has also been emphasized, underscoring the commitment to creating a secure and conducive learning environment for students across the state.
As Bihar’s education system navigates these challenges and addresses shortcomings, the proactive steps taken by the Education Department reflect a commitment to creating an inclusive and well-equipped learning environment that empowers students for a brighter future.