Coimbatore: In many of the 780 government elementary schools in the district, teachers are forced to handle more than 90 students in a class, while the student-teacher ratio should be 30:1 from Class 1 to V and 35:1 from Class VI to VIII.
While the government elementary school at Malumachampatti has 120 students in Class IV alone, it has only a teacher to handle them. Since only 20 students could be allowed in each class now, students are coming to the school only once in a week.
The situation isn’t any different at the elementary school at JJ Nagar near Chettipalayam. M Thangamalai, a parent of a Class IV student, said there were more than 60 students in his daughter’s class. “The school has 370 students and more teachers are needed to care for them individually.”
A source said uneven distribution of teachers had been affecting the academic activities in the elementary schools for a while. “While some schools have more than enough teachers to maintain the required 30:1 ratio, other schools are facing shortage of teachers. The school education department should ensure even distribution of teachers to facilitate a better learning experience for children.”
Another source said the student-teacher ratio couldn’t be maintained in some schools as they had seen an unprecedented increase in the number of students. “Many parents have enrolled their children in government schools by pulling them out of private schools, as they could not afford high fees because of the pandemic situation.”
V Manikandan, district president, Tamil Nadu Primary Teachers’ Federation, said the parents might readmit their wards to private schools, if adequate teachers were not deployed in the government schools. He urged the state government to carry out transfer counselling for teachers to address the shortage.
Speaking to TOI, N Geetha, district chief education officer, said she had issued necessary instructions to the block education officers to redeploy teachers on deputation to schools based on the requirement. “Only willing teachers will be deployed on deputation. I have asked officials not to depute teachers in schools that are far away from their place of residence. It is a temporary measure to ensure academic activity in schools is not affected until transfer counselling is conducted.”