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North Delhi schools start exams, but parents say no teachers to take classes


Schools run by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North MCD) will hold exams for students in Class 1 and Class 2 this week, but parents allege that many of these institutes do not have teachers to conduct regular classes six months into the academic session. Contracts of about 700 guest teachers were not renewed for the session beginning April 2018 due to what is feared to be paucity of funds. North MCD, whose jurisdiction extends from ISBT Kashmere Gate to Narela on the outskirts of outer Delhi, runs 760 schools that accommodate more than 250,000 students up to Class 5. In each of at least 400 schools, there were 20 guest teachers till the previous academic session that ended on March 10. “Even after attending school for five months, my son cannot read a sentence properly. He has to write the Hindi examination on Tuesday,” said Shakoor Ali, whose son studies in Class 1 at a school in the Bhalswa Dairy area. North MCD conducted Class 5 examinations last week. Exams for Class 1 and 2 will begin on Tuesday. Class 3 and Class 4 tests are expected to be held later this month. “Our children started skipping school because no teacher was available to take classes...And now they are told to write exams,” said Sheela Devi, the mother of a Class 3 student at the same school. North MCD acknowledged that the schools were faced with a shortage of teachers, but said steps were being taken to address the issue. “We received data from the schools on August 31. Contracts of teachers will be renewed soon. We have recently renewed the contracts of around 150-200 teachers. We also made alternative arrangements such as transferring teachers according to a need basis,” said Yogendra Singh Mann, the spokesperson for North Delhi and East Delhi corporations. A North MCD official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “At a girls’ school in Mukundpur, there are 15 permanent teachers for over 2,200 students. The school had 36 guest teachers until the last academic session. Their services were terminated. Usually, the contract is renewed every year.” Deepak Sharma, the Mukundpur school principal, confirmed this, adding that he had to take the help of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to conduct classes. “We struggled to arrange classes all these months. It is impossible for a teacher to attend to 150-200 students at a time. So we took the NGO’s help,” he said. The situation is worst at three of six North MCD zones — Civil Lines, Karol Bagh and Keshavpuram — that accounted for 70% of the contractual teachers employed till the last session, according to North MCD documents checked by HT. The Director of Education (North), Hemant Kumar Hem, refused to comment. The situation in East Delhi and South Delhi corporations, the other two civic bodies under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, is comparatively better. Contracts of the guest teachers in schools run by these two agencies were renewed in July and August. The two civic bodies run 1,000 schools with around 500,000 students. Separately, at 1,100 schools run by the Delhi government there are 17,000 guest teachers of the 38,926 filled posts. However, these schools still have around 28,000 vacancies, according to 2017 data. “We have renewed the contracts (this year). In fact we are trying to regularise these teachers,” said a senior official of the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education. Amita Wattal, an educationist and principal at Sprindales School, said, “The entire foundation is completely ruined if children do not get to attend regular classes at the primary level. Students will perform well in middle school and senior schools only if their foundation is strong.”