ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Teachers in Government Schools

This is with reference to the editorial “Why a Code for Teachers Now?” (EPW, 1 January). As a development professional working in an NGO that focuses on strengthening government schools, the editorial was of great interest to me. It rightly pointed out that better salaries or qualifi cations do not lead to improved teacher attendance. I feel that the code of conduct for teachers is a welcome move, but its scope should cover all the private schools too.

Nevertheless, the views expressed in the editorial about the differences in facilities between government and private schools are something that I would debate. Unlike what is mentioned, government schools in general are better than most private schools in terms of teacher salaries and infrastructure. When we talk of private schools, we often only think of the missionary or big corporate schools. We overlook the innumerable private schools in rural areas operating under thatched roofs. These schools have a couple of teachers and have a student-teacher ratio of more than 100. Many such schools teach mechanically and yet are valued for the fact that the teacher is present and tries her best to “deliver” sessions. Salaries provided to private teachers are lower than para teachers’ salaries, yet these teachers feel accountable as they are “paid” by users.

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