Several districts of north Karnataka, particularly in the Hyderabad-Karnataka belt, figure low on educational indicators, be it female literacy or the rate of transition loss from primary to high school. The district-wise break up of vacancies of posts of teachers in primary schools provides one indicator on why this could be so.
Of the total 11,689 teacher posts vacant only at the primary level in the State, as per the pupil-teacher ratio mandated by the Right to Education Act, the highest vacancies are in Chikkodi educational district with 987, followed by Yadgir at 923.
At the bottom
All above 500 vacancies are concentrated in the northern belt: Raichur (697), Bellary (604), Koppal (558), Bidar (529) and Gulbarga (506). The only odd educational district out in the category is the educational district of Sirsi with 553 vacancies, which happens to be Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri’s home district.
At the other end of the spectrum are Bangalore North with 35 vacancies and Udupi with 72. This category too has a surprise member, Haveri from north Karnataka, with just 20 vacancies.
Not surprisingly, the R. Govinda Committee report on restructuring of schools, which had said that the State is short on teachers by 14,958, had also pointed out that pupil-teacher ratio is markedly more adverse in northern districts compared to the southern ones.
In an attempt to fill these gaps, the Karnataka government is now in the process of recruiting primary school teachers and the proposal for filling 14,000 posts is pending with the Finance Department.
According to sources in the department, approval is likely to be given next week for filling only about 8,000 vacancies.
Education Department officials admit that one of reasons for the problem being severe in north Karnataka districts is also unwillingness on the part of teachers to be posted there. This particular issue is likely to be remedied to at least some extent by the implementation of provisions of the Article 371 under which special status was recently accorded to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, promising reservation in jobs to people of the region by birth or domicile.