The Ukhrul Higher Secondary School located in the heart of Ukhrul town is found to be functioning without adequate teaching staff despite the fact that the school has been around for the last seven decades.
Given the accessibility factors, availability of qualified teachers and low educational cost, the government-run Ukhrul Higher Secondary School attracts a good number of students from economically weaker sections of people in various parts of the district.
Established in 1952, the Ukhrul Higher Secondary School to its credit has produced scores of government servants, professionals and dignitaries, among others.
However, quite contrary to the reputation it earned, when the Imphal Free Press visited the institute, it was found that teaching staff and student balance ratio was missing in many subjects namely history, education, human ecology and family science (previously called Home Science) and Tangkhul language.
The subjects - Education and Tangkhul - had only one lecturer each, while there were only two history lecturers in the school.
In the 2021-22 academic session, many class-10 passed students got admitted in the Ukhrul Higher Secondary School. Amid the surge in the number of student enrollment, existing teachers were hard pressed in performing their duties as manifold increase in the number of students has resulted in division of classes into sections. Class-XI Arts has three sections while Science has one section.
Post the Class 10 examination results declaration, if more students are to get admitted here it would further escalate the existing problem facing the school because even in this session they had been hit hard for want of more teaching staff.
In the current academic session, around 850 students, starting from Class I-12 have been admitted to the institute.
When asked, one Yaomila, who is a cultivator, expressed her concern to the Imphal Free Press that Covid pandemic has seriously impacted the education of students and the problem of shortage of teachers should not hamper their education now that schools are running normal classes.
"I pray that authorities concerned would wake up and initiate committed solutions promptly by ensuring adequate teachers so that the true joy of learning is experienced and instilled in the minds of the young ones."
Like Yaomila, many concerned parents in Ukhrul have informed the Imphal Free Press that government high schools in the district are reeling under intense paucity of teaching staff, while urging education department to do the needful so that their children education is not reduced to little knowledge level for no fault of theirs.
Speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press on Thursday, Josiah Awungshi, Acting Vice-Principal of Ukhrul Higher Secondary School said that, including utilised teachers, the school currently has 67 to 70 lecturers. "However, with the increase in the number of students enrolled, post creation is urgently needed to tide over the challenges."
Elaborating further on the need to create more posts, Awungshi said that post creation is the way forward to solve the problem facing the institute. Employing utilised teachers is possible but no lecturers could be transferred here in the absence of post creation. Only when more posts are created, holistic solutions would come, he said.
He further said that it is the only educational institute in the district that had a Commerce department. However, since there is only one lecturer, the department is yet to function, he said, expressing hope that it would start functioning effectively this session.
Commenting on the teaching staff requirements, the vice-principal said that more lecturers are required in history, education, human ecology and family science (previously called Home science), English and Tangkhul subjects. We had eight English lecturers. However as the said subject is further divided into prose, poetry and literature sections, at least three more lecturers are required.
Three primary teachers are required for classes one to five this current academic session as three teachers would be retiring in the next few months, he said, adding that classes six to ten requires a minimum of three math and science graduate teachers. If this is materialised it would be manageable, he pointed out.
Maintaining that the institute is running without basic infrastructural facilities, he said he had urged the authorities concerned to construct one "Multi Purpose Hall."
With the number of students enrolling in the institute increasing, he had also urged the authorities concerned to undertake "Building Extension" so that more students could be accommodated in the classes.
It is worth noting that in view of the shortages in teaching staff, many poor parents had shifted their wards to private school though they could ill afford the charges.
Against this backdrop, the education department needs to take steps to fix the problem of inadequate teaching staff facing government schools in the district.