THE key to the development of the Mewat region in Haryana lies in proper education of its children. Though some initiatives have been taken to lift the region out of its pitiable condition, they are not good enough. It continues to be stuck in the quagmire of poor social indicators. The rise in the literacy level of the district from 43.5 per cent in 2001 to 54.1 per cent in 2011 is unimpressive as it remains the lowest in the state. The female literacy rate is worse: 36.60 per cent. The school dropout rate of girls is the maximum in the area. In contrast, the adjoining Gurugram boasts of the highest literacy rate: 84.4 per cent.
This deplorable state of affairs owes to a large extent to the acute shortage of teachers in government schools. The Tribune has reported that students of 34 middle schools of Mewat don’t have regular teachers. The government has been unable to ensure the equitable deployment of staff as per its teacher transfer policy of 2016. Political interference and corruption still hold sway in postings. The CAG report of 2018 red-flags the skewed distribution. The student-teacher ratio is very high (between 36.2 and 44) in the backward regions of Mewat, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts, while it is low (between 17.08 and 20.79) in Rohtak, Jhajjar and Panchkula. Compounding the problem is the average vacancy position of 50 per cent in the state. In this regard, too, the wide variations show that the backward areas are at a disadvantage. While they are reeling under the 71 to 85 per cent vacant posts, the sought-after progressive districts are short of 21 to 34 per cent.
It is no surprise that children’s learning outcomes are nearly nil in schools that are mere brick and mortar without teachers. The staff must be distributed evenly for best results, even if it requires doling out handsome incentives to teachers willing to serve in remote and backward regions.