Rural Schools Can Solve a Rs 440 Cr Problem By Hiring Inspectors

The exorbitant costs of maintaining absentee teachers can be cut by investing in hiring school inspectors.

2 min read
Of the six million teaching positions in government schools, nationwide, about a million are vacant.

India’s rural schools could save Rs 440 crore, per year, in salaries paid to teachers absent from classrooms, by paying a tenth of that amount (Rs 43 crore per year) to school inspectors, according to a 2016 World Bank paper.

Kerala, Gujarat, West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu could save more than Rs 10 per rupee spent per year on inspectors, according to World Bank estimates.


Absent teachers in rural schools in 19 major states cost India between Rs 8,400 crore and Rs 7,200 crore annually by assuming legitimate absence rates between 8 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in 2003-2010, according to estimates by Karthik Muralidharan (University of California, San Diego, US), Jishnu Das (World Bank, Washington, DC), Alaka Holla (World Bank, Washington, DC) and Aakash Mohpal (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).

Monitoring teachers is more efficient as “hiring more teachers increases the teacher absence rate, which further increases the costs,” the researchers said.

Between 2010 and 2016, teacher attendance has fallen 1.7 percentage points at both the primary and upper primary levels, according to the 2016 Annual Status of Education Report, by Pratham, an education advocacy.

Rural Schools Can Solve a Rs 440 Cr Problem By Hiring Inspectors
(Source: Annual Status Of Education Report)

Absence without a valid reason was only 2.5 percent of cases in a study of 2,861 teachers in 619 purposively selected government schools by the Azim Premji Foundation, IndiaSpend reported on 26 April 2017.

Of the six million teaching positions in government schools nationwide, about 900,000 elementary school teaching positions and 100,000 in secondary school – a million, combined – are vacant. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand – among India’s poorest states – face the greatest shortages, IndiaSpend reported (click here, here and here).

(Vipul Vivek is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

(This article was originally published in IndiaSpend.)

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