punjab schools

Roshan Singh (right), whose eyesight is deteriorating, holds his book close as he reads in class at the Government Primary School in the village of Dona Nanka on the Indian-Pakistan border some 17kms from Fazilka in the northern state of Punjab. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)

CHANDIGARH (IANS) — At least 55 government schools located along the border areas of Punjab have students, but no teachers.

The statistics of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education also revealed few more shocking details.

There are 150 primary and middle schools in the border areas which have just one teacher each. In the entire state, there are over 1,000 schools with just a lone teacher.

Education Department officials believe that lack of infrastructure in government schools and political connections are acting as deterrents for the teachers to opt for posting in the border areas.

While few schools in the border belt have already shut down, a majority of the remaining schools don't have any teacher.

Officials admitted that over 200 teachers were transferred from the border areas by the previous Education Minister, O.P. Soni, whose portfolio was changed in a Cabinet reshuffle on June 6.

Interestingly, the 'politically' connected teachers are in an advantageous position. There are 605 teachers who are deployed in 410 schools, each having a student strength pf less than 20.

Punjab Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said the rationalization process has begun and teacher deployment in all schools is being reviewed.

A government spokesperson told IANS that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh July 30 issued the first transfer orders for teachers under the new transfer policy, ensuring transparency in the system.

Under the new policy of the Department of School Education approved by the Cabinet in January, all transfers of teaching staff are now being done only online, with no human intervention, thus ending the widespread corruption reported in the transfers earlier.

The Chief Minister said the government has planned to extend the policy to the other departments as well.

As per the policy, once the transfer order is issued and the same is complied with, no fresh transfer will be considered before a teacher spends three years in the new station.

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