Many private schools in Bengaluru face acute shortage of teachers | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Now that on campus classes have resumed for all grades, several private schools are facing an acute shortage of teachers. The pandemic hit schools hard and institutions were forced to close for more than one-and-a-half years.
Teachers bore the brunt. Many quit after their salary was cut while others were laid off. Schools say many have moved on to other professions and places, and rehiring the same staff is near impossible.
“When the pandemic hit and parents stopped paying fees, many schools could not afford to pay their teachers,” said D Shashi Kumar, secretary of the Association of Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka. “Many changed professions. Several of them moved back to their hometowns and none are willing to come back. There was already a shortage of quality teachers even before the pandemic hit, and the situation has become worse now.”
Teachers took up other jobs, from data entry operators to beauticians and online tutors and new apps for online education. The most severe shortage is for maths and sciences subjects, say schools.
“One of my teachers became a beautician,” said Natesh Kumar MN of Gurukul International School. “She says if she gets a couple of wedding programmes a month, she earns a tidy sum. Another moved on to become a manager in a brick company. She went back to her hometown and doesn’t want to return. Getting a good, experienced hand is a challenge now.”
Schools have been widely advertising vacancies, but they say talented teachers are hard to come by. “We have put out advertisements in many newspapers. Many who apply either have no experience, or their language skills are poor,” said Rangalakshmi Srinivasa, principal, Basaveshwara Educational Institute. “Teachers who left the profession were passionate about teaching but were dejected and depressed when schools could not pay them after a point. Now, they do not want to return. It is a sad situation.”
It is not just teachers but other staff too who are in demand. “Bus drivers are also in demand. When school buses stopped plying, they moved on to other transport services like courier services or cabs,” said BR Suprit, secretary of Oxford Institutions, Ullal. “Although schools want to rehire them, many of them do not even want to come back as they fear another wave of Covid-19 infections will hit their livelihoods. They would prefer to wait and watch.”
Currently, schools are managing with existing teachers. “As the number of students who are coming in are few, many schools are able to manage,” said Shashi Kumar. Srinivasa said, “We are requesting existing teachers to manage all classes.”
Maya Menon, founder director, Teacher Foundation, said the acute shortage is rampant among mid-level schools (in terms of budget), while some high-end schools are also facing the problem. “In the latter case, teachers have got comfortable taking online lessons from home. Since they have acquired technology skills, they are being grabbed by ed tech companies. In the case of midlevel schools, it’s been a case of desperation and financial exigencies,” she said.
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Sagar Biswas

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