Teacher Absenteeism in India

The Right to Education act mandates a B.Ed. degree and a good score in the NET aptitude test for all elementary school teachers. The candidates with the best NET score get to teach in the government schools at remote or rural places. When the government laid down this rule the idea was definitely to provide the least affluent students in the country the opportunity to learn with the most accomplished teachers.

Almost every teacher who gets the opportunity to teach in the rural parts of India and serve the greater purpose celebrates it as an occasion of unquestionable rest for years to come. Teaching in the government schools is nothing to worry about as it is perceived that you never even have to show up for classes! Under the “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan” a huge number of schools were developed with proper facilities at remote places. Five years down the line, these schools lacked basic amenities like benches, blackboards, books and notebooks which were to be distributed free of cost amongst the students, clean drinking water and above all else, teachers. A survey shows that in 2009 the rate of teacher absenteeism in India was 11% which increased to 14% in 2011. These are mere facts and figures and the real picture is even more horrendous.


The government schools in India face shortage of teachers by large. RTE norms mention that the teacher-student ratio must never exceed 1:40, indicating India needs to hire 6 lakh new teachers. Hence, every teacher has a lot on his/her platter. They have to teach subjects they have no knowledge about and take up many classes simultaneously. Most of the teachers who belong to big cities and have to teach in rural parts have to travel an awful lot in order to reach the schools. With their comfortable salaries these teachers lead a luxurious life with facilities like air conditioning at their disposal and when they have to teach in a classroom full of 60 students without even a table fan in the harsh heat of June, the easy way out for them is to refrain from fulfilling their duty as a teacher.

Irrespective of the reason, fact remains that it is the duty of a teacher to ensure that the students are getting a better tomorrow. The role of a Guru was of prime importance in all ancient Indian civilizations. It is truly heart-breaking to see how careless the so-called most talented educators in India are towards their profession and when the same teachers join a private school, they work extremely hard to keep up with the high code of conduct for teachers in those schools. A teacher is supposed to be the shining beacon of hope that these less privileged students can look up to. They are meant to be their guiding lights and guardian angels. Instead, these teachers are pushing the innocent young minds further down into poverty by discouraging them from academics. They are responsible for coloring their childhood black by introducing them to anarchy by erasing the word ‘Discipline’ from their dictionaries and showing them that money is the only God known to man today and that all actions of the educated adults are governed by the lure of luxury. No wonder then that the illiteracy rates are showing an uptrend and the average age of serious criminals is constantly decreasing in rural India. It’s high time we all take a firm stand and question our principles!


  1. The idea of motivation is strongly governed by the idea of incentives. We as humans respond very strongly to incentives and understanding the idea purported here, in this article, I believe it is being showcased that a teacher must be, by virtue of a moralistic position, must be self-motivated. I have a problem with that understanding where one lays the entire burden of value addition, efficiency, moral superiority in one person without actually creating positive incentives for the one who’s intended to perform the duties. The salaries of teachers haven’t gone up, the scope of research for NET qualifiers and JRFs has gone down considerably. Other problems include the lack of a career as an educationist when its opportunity cost has been increased as per how our economy has structured itself, which means that better minds are moving away from this profession, while a residual population fills the gaps. Lastly, the current government is hell bent on privatizing its problems and has further reduced public expenditure. I find it extremely hard to believe that lackadaisical teachers are responsible for denying education to our people.

  2. The poor plight of Indian education system needs no more elaboration! Inadequate resources, inefficient system, and the faulty environment. To add to this, teacher absenteeism is a curse. But this must not be seen as a mere fail of the teachers in the first place. Meagre income and no other alternates compel them to hit a different place as the government job is secure enough to pay you every month. It is the time when the government looks into the matter and ease the system.


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