New Delhi: Underlining a shortage of 1.2 million teachers at the elementary school level, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Tuesday called for improvement in their standards and also in salaries and facilities for them.
"The availability of good teachers is the biggest challenge for the education system," Sibal said addressing the 15th foundation day of the National Council for Teacher Education here.
"There is a shortage of 1.2 million teachers at the elementary level and nearly 200,000 for Class 9 and 10," Sibal said, adding that the number of underqualified teachers was additional.
The issue of teachers training has been in focus, especially since the Right to Education Act has to be implemented in the country. The HRD Ministry had recently held a series of dialogues with state education ministers to discuss various issues pertaining to implementing the right to education, including teachers training.
The RTE fixes strict standards for the qualification of teachers in schools.
The minister said the states need to pay more attention towards improving the quality of teachers.
"We are in constant dialogue with the states and some have taken steps as well, but nothing will change unless better salaries and facilities are ensured to teachers," he said.
"I won`t name any state, but there are states which have recruited teachers with Class 10 qualification," Sibal said.
He, however, added that efforts are afoot to ensure improvement in the standards and changes will be made in a year`s time.
Apart from a hike in salary, the minister also stressed on better facilities like pension, insurance and housing for teachers. The central government has recently approved in principle a life and health insurance scheme and a housing scheme for 60 lakh teachers across the country.