September 10, 2008

128 Lecturers for 1,339 Schools!

By Parvesh Sharma

Patiala: Punjab government claims to be taking concrete steps for protecting environment and spreading awareness on it but when it comes to make those who matter the most, i.e. schoolchildren, aware of the cause it's an altogether different story. Its non-serious attitude can be gauged from the fact that only 175 posts have been sanctioned for geography lecturer of the total 10,590, which is merely 1.6% of the total. Still worse is that 47 sanctioned posts are lying vacant.

As per sources, there are 1,339 government senior secondary schools in the state. While lecturers/teachers of all subjects are being recruited/promoted, those teaching geography are being given step-motherly treatment since 1991. An example of this is that in 2001, 540 schools were upgraded to senior secondary level and 1,404 posts of lecturer were created but not a single one for geography. Similarly, in 2006, 1,764 posts were created and only 87 were of geography lecturers.

After geography teachers expressed resentment the government finally woke up from it's slumber and promoted 69 of them as lecturers to fill the 87 posts in June 2006, 15 years after the last promotions took place in 1991. This increased the earlier strength of 59 to 128, but keeping in view the number of schools it was still very less. "If the government is really serious about doing something concrete to spread awareness about environment then it must first increase the sanctioned strength of these lecturers to 500," said Sukhminder Singh, state president of the Geography Postgraduate Teachers Union.

In 2004, the Punjab DPI had written letters to all senior secondary schools to send their requirement of geography lectures. According to the data collected, Punjab needed at least 500 permanent lecturers of the subject . When efforts were made to contact Upinderjit Kaur, education minister, the person attending her mobile phone said, "Madam is busy and cannot attend the call."

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