Acute teacher shortage has been hampering academic activities at government primary schools in Gaibandha for a long time.
According to district primary education office, there are 1,463 government primary schools in the district, where 6,884 assistant teachers have been rendering services. A total of 941 posts of assistant teachers and 190 posts of head teachers have been lying vacant there for long time.
The schools those suffer from acute shortage of teacher are situated either in remote areas or char lands. So, teachers who are posted to char lands do not want to stay in the remote area due to lack of smooth communication.
In Gaibandha, four out of seven upazilas are in remote char lands along Teesta and Jamuna river basin having 139 government primary schools. In some areas, it needs a daylong boat trip to reach the schools.
Abdus Sattar, headmaster of Kalurpara Government Primary School in Fulchhari upazila, said primary teachers usually do not want to work at the schools in char lands due to communication problem. So, the teachers who are posted to the remote area do not want to stay there for long time.
Most of the children in the char area remained deprived of quality education due to acute shortage of teachers, said Sattar.
On a visit, this correspondent found a gloomy picture prevailed at some primary schools like Tekani Government Primary School in Kishorgari union of Palashbari upazila, where a single teacher conducted total academic activities. The school has 30 students.
Apart from this, only two teachers are seen teaching around 100 students at Anduya Government Primary School in the same union. Earlier, four teachers were posted here. Of them, one teacher left for a training programme and another was deputed to other school.
Meanwhile, the number of teachers is increasing in the schools situated adjacent to the district and upazila headquarters for smooth communication and other facilities.
According to the standard of primary education, a school should have at least five teachers. The teacher-student ratio will be 1:40, which is almost ignored in most of the primary schools.
Fulchhari Upazila Education Officer Kafiluddin Sarker said during the last flood, five school houses were eroded by the surging water of the Jamuna river.
He further said those schools have been shifted to some other places temporarily. The schools are marked by a thin presence of students due to communication problem.
Hossain Ali, district primary education officer in Gaibandha, said academic activities of primary school students are being hampered due to shortage of teachers.
The government has already taken initiative to recruit primary school teachers that will help to replace the vacant posts of assistant teachers and head teachers, said the education officer.