The number and quality of teachers is critical to a child’s education and overall holistic development. Training and recruiting teachers and then retaining teachers is a major challenge which the RTE Act recognises and seeks to address.

Teacher Shortages- Compliance with new Pupil Teacher Ratio norms

PTR under the RTE Act

Classes 1-5 (Primary)

Admitted Children

Number of Teaches

Up to 60








Above 150 Children

Five + 1 head teacher

Above 200 Children

PTR (excluding head teacher) not exceed 40


(a)At least one teacher per class so that thee shall be at least one teacher each for

a. A, Science and Mathematics

b. Social Studies

c. Languages

(b) At least one teacher for every 35 children

(c) Where admission of children is above 100

(i) a full time head teacher

(ii) Part time instructors for

a. Art Education

b. Health and Physical Education

c. Work Education

The Right to Education Act changes the recommended Pupil-Teacher Ratios (PTR). However, despite all these provisions, the reality has not significantly changed on the ground. At the time of the commencement of the Act, in 2009-10, 28% and 27% Primary and Upper Primary schools respectively were not in adherence with even the old SSA norm of 1:40. 74% of the Primary Schools in Bihar and 48% in Jharkhand were not compliant with the old norm. Not surprisingly, the creation of a legal mandate to ensure compliance with a new enhanced set of norms in each school has created the need for both additional teachers being hired and rationalization (ie redeployment of existing teachers). Several states initiated efforts to map teacher availability- with Madhya Pradesh being the first to create an online portal making the data about schools with excess teachers and shortages available online.

Comparing the picture against the new RTE norms, the situation comes out even worse. About 5-7 lakh posts remain vacant. Furthermore, in addition to filling existing vacancies, the government will need to appoint an additional 5.1 lakh teachers to meet the 30:1 PTR norm. The Union HRD Minister has recently said that we need 12 lakh new teachers in order to meet RtE obligations[1].

With respect to teacher recruitment under RTE, SSA has sanctioned an additional 1.3 lakh teachers for FY2010-11, primarily in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. Of these, 59,000 are for primary schools and 36,000 for upper primary schools (of which 24,000 maths and science teachers). This will bring the total teacher recruitment under SSA to more than 14 lakh.[2]

In Uttar Pradesh, the State Government is yet to take any step to fill the required number of qualified teachers in schools. Around 60,000 positions at the Primary institutions are lying vacant due to unavailability of appropriately qualified teachers.[3] The problem is even more intimidating in Bihar with 100,696 posts lying vacant.[4] The staff Selection Commission of the state of Bihar has announced the recruitment notification for 34, 540 posts of Assistant Teachers for general subjects, Urdu and Physical Education in 2010.[5] Orissa has advertised 11,000 teachers posts (with talk of hiring of 25,000 parateachers[6]). Other states that announced intent to initiate recruitment in the previous year are Delhi (10,000[7]) and Jharkhand (17,000). Overall, however, the problem remains insufficiently addressed and is a critical challenge in view of the clear statistical impact that gross teacher shortages have on children’s education levels.

The questions pertaining to availability of subject teachers and part time teachers with core subject expertise have likewise not been addressed in adequate detail. Mechanisms for training of aequate numbers of art or work education teachers are simply not in place, and not enough effort has been made to ensure their training.

Availability of Professionally Qualified Teachers

Under Article 23, any person possessing minimum qualifications as laid down by an academic authority, authorised by the Central Government can be appointed as a teacher and all the “untrained” teachers who have not received recognized professional training and certification as teachers must obtain this training within a period of 5 years. NCTE has notified a set of national norms of teacher qualifications. However, 20% teachers failed to adhere to the pre-existing standard of qualified teachers at the start of the Act (DISE, 2009-10). There were considerable variations, with Arunachal Pradesh (26.3%) and Nagaland (26.5%) forming one end of the spectrum and Delhi and Punjab (100%) forming the other. In total, 8 States entered into 2010-11 with less than 50% teachers professionally qualified.

Interestingly, the teacher qualifications among teachers in private unaided schools were lower than of government teachers (68.8%, compared with 89.2%). Consequently, the requirement of appointing only trained teachers is likely to have significant impact on the teachers in private schools.

Pre-service Training Capacity

According to the 12th JRM of SSA the number of untrained teacher is much higher than the existing capacity of recognized teacher training institutions in a lot of states. In fact, the real capacity is even less than what is officially stated, given that many of the NCTE-authorized institutions fall short of the standards required to ensure quality, in both public and private sectors. NCTE is tasked with the role of laying down the minimum norms for recognition of teacher training institutions. It has, unfortunately, repeatedly come into the news in the preceding year[8], with the recommendations laid down by it frequently ignored[9] and the courts strongly criticizing it for its failure to cope with the demand for teachers in a few states[10][11]. At the heart of the problem is the limited strength of the NCTE and an inadequate effort by the government sector to meet the market demand for government teacher training institutes which is compounded by the overall failure of regulation mechanism in higher education. The issue of regulation of private teacher training institutions cannot be seen in isolation from the larger failures of regulation of higher education institutions in other subjects. With the government failing to establish government teacher training institutions, private colleges have stepped in to meet the with all the concomitant problems of the private sector involvement in higher education. NCTE has attempted to curb malpractices and has already withdrawn recognition of 585 institutions giving B.Ed and Diploma in Education degrees. Madhya Pradesh tops the list with 217 illegal institutions, followed by 103 in Gujarat, 41 each in Rajasthan and Karnataka, 31 in UP and 28 in Haryana[12]. However, what these incidents highlight is the need for a better thought through strategy for teacher training if the actual gaps in the availability of trained teachers are to be met.


National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education

The preceding year saw the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education coming into force. It is anticipated that in the next two-three years, B.Ed will become a two-year course, instead of the current one year, and the diploma in education will be completely phased out. NCTE also decided that those with B.Ed and diploma in special education from the Rehabilitation Council of India would be given jobs in regular schools after a short orientation course in elementary education.

The issue of Parateachers

The RTE provides for a centrally notified acceptable level of qualification, and encourages the creation of a “professional and permanent cadre of teachers”. This entails the end of the practice of hiring parateachers. One issue in this regard is that parateachers are defined differently from State to State, with no uniformity on their qualifications, training requirements, pay scale, and other service requirements.

Teacher Eligibility Test

In order to ensure a uniform standard of quality for teachers, this year saw the drafting of the proposal for States to hold Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), modeled along the lines of the National Eligibility Test for college and university teachers. These are expected to be rolled out from the next year and would be compulsory for new recruits and its validity would be seven years. Until now, only three states -- Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh -- conduct entrance examination for school teacher's job[13].

In-service Training

Overall, only 35% of teachers in India received in-service training in the year preceding the implementation of RTE. This ranged from 46.7% of teachers in government schools, compared to only 1.68% teachers in unaided schools. Combined with the lower overall qualifications of the teachers in the latter

Issues pertaining to teachers for children with special needs.

Teaching hours

At present the teaching days and hours across States and within States is not uniform which means that some students get less contact time with teachers, the syllabus is rushed at the end of the academic year and ultimately children do not receive an equitable level of opportunity to education. In line with the RTE Act, the education department issued a government resolution specifying teacher working hours and school teaching hours in line with the RTE. Teachers in primary and secondary schools will be mandated to work 200 and 220 working days each academic year. Teaching hours were fixed at 800 for primary level and 1,000 at the secondary level.

Non Teaching Work

A study undertaken by EdCil in 2010, 12% of teachers’ time in school was spent on non-teaching activities.

Teacher Absenteeism

Biometric Attendance- Haryana[14], Delhi. Dress Code- Orissa[15].

EdCIL (2009)- P, AP and UP.

Working Hours- Punjab[16], Maharashtra[17]

Working Conditions

Life Insurance, Housing[18] planning ambitious housing and insurance schemes for schoolteachers to make the profession attractive and fill the massive vacancies threatening to derail the right-to-education initiative.

Efforts towards minimizing involvement of teachers in non teaching work

Enforcement of hours, days of teaching as per RTE schedule

Code of ethics of teachers- and resultant MHRD vs NCTE Dynamics

Head teachers- appointment, scheme for building leadership of head teachers

Understanding of provisions for RTE by education machinery itself- efforts towards orienting teachers, middle management etc on provisions of rte

No private tuition by teachers

[1] [2] 12th JRM of SSA, 29th July 2010 [3] Teacher recruitment not adequate, 60.000 vacancies ( [4], 1.2 million teachers short for implementing RTE: Kapil Sibal, accessed on 19th January 2010

[5], Bihar Staff Selection Commission Teacher Recruitment 2010Edit

[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]