Around one lakh teachers in 9,000 schools opted for transfers this year to urban and semi-urban places.
Thanks to general transfers, as many as 2,100 government schools in remote villages in Telangana are left without any teachers since the beginning of the current academic year on 1 June. As a result, there is no teaching or academic supervision in these schools even after five weeks since the session started.
In many villages, parents are worried that their children would miss schooling and get spoiled.
It has become common in Telangana’s remote areas for parents to stage demonstrations before the educational officers demanding posting of teachers in the schools in their villages. But the officials have no clues about the postings.
This situation is the result of the massive transfers of teachers this year. There were no general transfers of government employees including teachers ever since Telangana state was formed in 2014 June.
The last time large scale routine transfers were made was in 2012 in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
The teachers from Telangana had at that time alleged that the transfers were carried out to benefit those from coastal Andhra districts but not the locals. The TRS government had waited for four years to take up the contentious issue of transfers as most of the teachers have a lot of political clout and influence. The government has conducted transfers this May.
As expected, almost all the teachers working in remote and interior areas had preferred transfers to towns, big villages or road-side villages so that they can commute to their native towns and cities.
Around one lakh teachers working in 9,000 out of the total 20,500 government schools have opted for transfers this year and all of them preferred urban and semi-urban schools, leaving the remote schools empty.
The educational department officials are helpless in this regard as most of the teachers had exerted political pressure by getting recommendations from the MLAs, MPs and even some ministers.
Though the transfers were through a counselling process, political recommendations were used to get postings in towns and district headquarters. Teachers’ unions also exerted pressure.
Moreover, the TRS government is obliged to honour their requests as most of the teachers’ unions had played a key role in separate Telangana movement in the last one and a half decades. “Some teachers argued with us that they should get postings to schools in towns and cities as they had fought for the statehood and that they should get prime places,” said an official in the school education directorate.
In fact, the school education director (DSE) office itself has become rudderless as the regular School Education Director G. Kishan was shifted out of the place a few days before the transfer process began and another official, Adhar Sinha, with full additional charge, was appointed.
Kishan is believed to have been shifted as he resisted lobbying by the teachers’ unions for plum postings.
Tula Uma, chairperson of Karimnagar zilla parishad, told The Sunday Guardian that though there was a norm that only 40% of the teachers should be transferred in one single year, it has been flouted conveniently. The teachers unions have cleverly ensured 100% transfers from remote villages while maintaining the overall 40% transfer limit.
Many schools in remote and faraway places from main roads have remained teacher-less. For example, all the 16 teachers in a tribal hamlet in Gattu village in Mahabubnagar district have got transfers to better places, thus leaving the school teacher-less and empty.
In Kumaram Bheem district in northern Telangana, as many as 315 schools have been shut for want of teachers as all of them have been transferred. In Maha Muttaram village, deep in the forests of Bhoopalapali district, 14 out of the total 16 school assistant teachers have been transferred, while the remaining two went on leave, thus leaving the school shut.
In Vikarabad district, adjacent to Hyderabad city, there were 900 vacancies for teacher posts before the transfers and now the number has gone up to 1,306 as another 400 teachers managed to get postings in city schools.
In Santalagudem and Balaganpally villages of Asifabad district, schools were run by a single teacher. But now as both teachers secured posting to towns, the schools are teacher-less.
Most of the schools without teachers are from backward and neglected areas where villagers had fought hard to get teachers. In most villages, there are no private schools even.
R. Venkat Reddy, who works with the MV Foundation, an NGO in the field of elementary education and literacy based in Hyderabad, told this newspaper that the haphazard transfers made by the government was responsible for the present mess in the schools in the interior areas. “How can all the teachers in a school are transferred at the start of the academic year?” he asked.
A senior official in the Telangana school education department told this newspaper on Friday that efforts are underway to see that at least some teachers are shifted back to the teacher-less schools.
“We are going to send a few regular or contract teachers to affected schools by July last week,” said a deputy director requesting anonymity.