Guwahati: Stating that he faces "political pressure" while trying to improve pupil-teacher ratio in the state, Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said it is a "misplaced sympathy" to talk for teachers only.
"If we have sympathy on teachers instead of the students, then it is a misplaced sympathy," Sarma said during the Question Hour at the ongoing Assembly session here.
While replying to a query by AIUDF MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed, the minister said there were many cases where schools have six teachers against seven students and one teacher against 300 students.
"There are lots of anomalies in the PT (pupil-teacher) ratio. Whenever I try to rationalise it, I face political pressure... Despite my best efforts, I am not been able to do it because of political pressure," Sarma said.
"This morning I got 400 transfer-related applications and all were forwarded by the MLAs. Everyone wants to come to the town from the villages. I have rejected all.
"We need to change the mentality... We need a political willingness... Give me political support, I will make sure that all teachers go to remote places," Sarma said.
The government has to force the teachers to go to remote places as they are public servants, otherwise they should resign, he added.
On Ahmed`s request that whether the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) could be conducted Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC) wise, the minister replied in the negative.
"LAC wise TET can`t be conducted as it won`t be legally acceptable... There won`t be any compromise of merit on teachers appointment in the state," he added.
Sarma said the average PT ratio in lower primary (LP) schools was 28:1, while it was 17:1 in the upper primary (UP) schools.
As per the Right to Education Act 2009, this ratio should be under 30:1 in LP and 35:1 in UP schools, he added.