Shortage of secondary-level teachers hits Nepal’s schools

Forty secondary schools in Achham district are compelled to make do with underqualified teachers for English, Mathematics, and Science.

Menuka Dhungana

Menuka Dhungana

The Kathmandu Post


Buildings of Mahendra Secondary School in ward 8 of Sanfebagar Municipality in Achham district in this undated photo. PHOTO: THE KATHMANDU POST

January 31, 2024

KATHMANDU – Chaurpati Rural Municipality announced vacancies for teachers for the secondary level for the fifth time two months ago. However, the rural municipality did not receive a single application from qualified teachers.

All eight secondary-level community schools in the rural municipality are reeling under a shortage of subject teachers for English, Science and Mathematics.

According to Ramchandra Joshi, head of the Education, Youth, and Sports unit of the Chaurpati Rural Municipality, the eight secondary schools—five of which run classes till grade 12 while three run classes till grade 10—have not been able to find qualified teachers for the compulsory subjects.

“The schools are running classes with the help of teachers from the lower grades,” Joshi said. “The rural municipality has hired lower-level and unqualified teachers for the schools. Teachers with the licence to teach secondary-level classes prefer urban areas over rural areas, even though the pay is the same.”

According to government rules, to teach secondary-level classes, one has to get a teaching licence by completing a one-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) course.

Joshi said that these days very few people show interest in the teaching profession. “Students of English, Mathematics and Science do not opt to do B.Ed after their graduation because they don’t see their future secure as teachers.”

Like Chaurpati Rural Municipality, Sanphebagar Municipality is also suffering from a shortage of secondary-level teachers for compulsory subjects. Both Chaurpati Rural Municipality and Sanphebagar Municipality of the district are located in difficult terrains.

Hiradatta Bhatta, head of the Education, Youth, and Sports unit of Sanphebagar Municipality, said that there are 14 secondary-level community schools in the municipality. Among them, eight schools teach up to grade 12 and six up to grade 10. All the schools are conducting classes by hiring underqualified teachers.

“The school hired teachers with insufficient qualifications after the municipality failed to hire qualified ones. Even though the municipality announced vacancies for secondary-level teachers twice this year, not a single candidate applied for the posts,” said Bhatta.

“This is a recurring problem for the municipality. It has started affecting the education of secondary-level students. Secondary Education Examination (SEE) and grade 12 are important milestones in a student’s academic path and not getting proper education from qualified teachers is a violation of their right to education,” said Bhatta.

Even the community schools in Mangalsen Municipality, which is the headquarters of the district, are suffering from a shortage of qualified teachers for compulsory secondary-level subjects.

According to Jagat Rawal, head of the Education, Youth, and Sports unit of Mangalsen Municipality, there are qualified teachers in the accessible and well-facilitated schools, but the schools in remote, less accessible areas with poor infrastructure and facilities are suffering from a shortage of qualified teachers.

“It has become difficult to find licensed teachers in English, Mathematics and Science. Even after announcing vacancies three times this year, no one applied for the job. Due to the lack of licensed and trained skilled teachers, the performance of students in SEE is getting affected,” said Rawal.

Rawal said that there are 12 secondary-level schools in the municipality, and among them, five run classes up to grade 12 and seven up to grade 10. Except for a couple of schools in the market areas, all are suffering from a shortage of teachers of English, Mathematics, and Science, according to him.

According to Ambadatta Joshi, head of the Education Development and Coordination Unit, Achham, there is a shortage of English, Mathematics, and Science teachers in 40 secondary schools in the district.

“There is a provision for hiring only licensed teachers for secondary schools, but due to the shortage, the schools are conducting classes through teachers from the lower grades. Due to a lack of attraction towards the teaching profession, not many students are opting to pursue B.Ed,” said Ambadatta. “This problem is not only in Achham, but several other districts of the country, especially those in remote ones, are suffering from a shortage of teachers. This problem cannot be fixed until the federal government intervenes and finds a solution,” Ambadatta added.

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