For many years now people who have tried to unravel the problem of teacher absence have grappled with ways to ensure teachers come every day and teach the required number of hours. If we are to look at all the initiatives tried out in different parts of the country one cannot but be reminded of the story of the elephant and four blind men.
Over the years it is recognised that we need a coordinated reform process. Piecemeal approaches to create school level management committees (which have no teeth), install a camera to record teacher attendance (Sewa Mandir, Udaipur), create oversight bodies to ensure attendance compliance, do away with permanent teachers and appoint them on yearly contracts, to name a few, have had limited impact. Another set of strategies tried out, to ensure teachers get regular training, teacher support through Cluster and Block resource centres (which ended up becoming data collection and oversight agencies), again have had limited impact. Why is this so?
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