More than half of the teacher posts for Urdu and Punjabi languages in Delhi government schools are lying vacant, even as the two have been accorded the status of second official language by the administration.
According to the response to an RTI petition filed by Manzar Ali, Chairman, Zarf Foundation and Welfare Society, in 794 state-run schools here, over 650 positions of Urdu teachers are vacant, while there are over 750 vacancies for Punjabi teachers in 1,001 such schools.
The RTI petition was filed in the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi, seeking information on the number of Urdu and Punjabi teachers in government schools here.
In its response, the directorate said in Delhi government's 794 schools, 1,029 Urdu Trained Graduate Teacher (who teach 6th to 10th class students) positions and in 1,001 such schools, 1,024 TGT Punjabi positions are approved. However, 669 Urdu and 791 Punjabi teacher positions are vacant, it said.
According to the directorate, of the 1,029 Urdu teacher positions, 57 are permanent and 303 are guest teachers. While 38 teachers from the Urdu academy are teaching in Delhi government schools, 631 teachers are needed. Academicians criticised the AAP government for "neglecting" Punjabi and Urdu languages.
Former National Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities and well-known academician Professor Akhtarul Wasey told PTI that despite the second official language status of Punjabi and Urdu, the city government is not providing adequate facilities for their propagation unlike other languages.
Maulana Azad National Urdu University Chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmad said, "These languages may become extinct if they are not taught to people, especially those whose mother tongue is Punjabi and Urdu."
He expressed regret that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which came into power by promising better education has left so many teacher posts vacant for Urdu and Punjabi languages.
For Punjabi, 1,024 teacher positions are approved, of which 111 are permanent and 122 are guest teachers, while 791 positions are lying vacant. Though the Punjabi academy provides 75 teachers, 716 posts are still vacant, according to the RTI response.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president and BJP-SAD MLA from Rajouri Garden, Manjinder Singh Sirsa alleged that the government is intentionally keeping the school teacher positions vacant for Urdu and Punjabi languages. He said despite sending repeated letters to the government to sensitise them on the issue, no action has been taken till date.
Meanwhile, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia has asked for a report from the education directorate on the vacant teacher positions in government schools for Urdu, Punjabi and Sanskrit languages. The AAP government had also issued a circular in this matter.