India is facing lack of female teachers in its schools. As systematic gender disparities in teacher profile Plague school education in the country with northern India being the worst affected. This has led to being a minority in the classroom especially in the Hindi heartland.
The disparity is even as the number of female teacher enrollment has registered a growth over the years with government laying ascent on induction of female teachers. But why such a gap?
The gap between male and female teachers comes in the backdrop of teaching profession being widely christened as "The Vocation" for women due to their nurturing capabilities which always remembers a few words saying 'Mother' The first Teacher.
Based on the report submitted by the District Information System for Education (DISE) (2010-11), the share of Women in teaching is not even half of that to the total number of teachers population. The ratio is not going to alter unless Hindi heartland states make tangible progress in hiring women teachers.
However, what remains intriguing is that more number of professionally trained regular teachers are working in private schools than government-aided schools. This could be due to fundamental shifts in the education job market.
According to the records, India has 44.83% of female teachers at school level as per DISE 2010-11. Schools in States like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are reported to have lower ratio of female teachers . Jharkhand has 29.22% female teachers, 30.15% in Rajasthan, 38.53% in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh with 40.43% of female teachers in its schools.
A Professor at Department of Education, University of Delhi said, "There is a very region-specific phenomenon and it varies from state to state and urban to rural areas. States which have reported less percentage of female teachers usually have never encouraged the female counterparts to go out and work".
The Director operation at Smile Foundation India HN Sahay, an education focused non-governmental organization said "In these areas, the share of female teachers is disproportionately low as there is a hesitation from the female side to teach in areas where provision for basic necessities like electricity and transportation facilities are not available".
"If the states have appointed male teachers, it is natural that the teachers will continue to teach till their respective team expires", said Dr. Sunita Chugh, the assistant professor at the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA). She proclaimed according to the rule book that "One needs to lay stress on the afct that is fresh appointments relaxation should be given to the female candidates. According to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), for appointment of every two teachers at the primary level, one has to be female".
On stressing the importance of hiring professionally trained teachers in the profession, Dr.Sahay said "It is absolutely necessary that a teacher should be professionally qualified in order to teach in an effective and planned manner. Teacher's training helps a teacher to understand the classroom issues more carefully and methodically".
Adding the gender debate in perspective, Dr.Chugh at NUEPA stressed that merely trumpeting the cause of female empowerment won't help the cause of education. She further recommended that, "At the primary level, female teachers should be there as they can treat the kids more patiently but at the upper level if a female teacher is not professionally competitive, then one should never compromise on the quality just for the sake of promoting female teachers".