We want your

Teacher Shortage in India’s Government Elementary Schools: Myth or Reality?

Accountability Initiative Staff

Thursday, 24 March 2022 ADD TO CALENDAR

2:00 PM To 3:30 PM

About the Session  

Teacher vacancies have been identified as a longstanding challenge for India’s education system. The National Education Policy, 2020 – the country’s milestone guiding document on education – too recognises a shortage of one million teachers and an urgent need to fill vacancies. But, aside from vacant posts, is there an actual shortage of teachers in India’s government elementary schools? 

In this session being organised by the Accountability Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research, Geeta Kingdon, co-author of The Myth and Reality of Teacher Shortage in India: An Investigation Using 2019-20 Data paper, will share findings from a study whose analysis is based on official, UDISE data. The session will touch upon the existing pupil-to-teacher ratio norm under the Right to Education Act; the author’s calculations on state and district-wise net teacher deficits and surpluses; reallocation of teachers as a policy approach; the issue of fake student enrolments; and the fiscal cost of filling in one million teacher vacancies as currently prescribed.


Paper Abstract

The Myth and Reality of Teacher Shortage in India: An Investigation Using 2019-20 Data examines the  widespread perception in India that the country has an acute teacher shortage of about one million teachers in public elementary schools, a view repeated in India’s National Education Policy 2020. Using official DISE data, the authors – Sandip Datta and Geeta Kingdon –  show that teacher vacancies cannot be equated with teacher shortages: while the number of teacher vacancies (in teacher-deficit schools) is 7,66,487, the number of teacher surpluses (in surplus-teacher schools) is 5,20,141, giving a net deficit of only 2,46,346 teachers in the country. On removing fake student enrollments and accounting for closures of small schools, the paper finds that the net deficit is in fact a surplus of 2,39,800 teachers. 

The paper highlights the major efficiencies that can result from evidence-based policy on minimum viable school-size, teacher allocation norms, permissible maximum pupil teacher ratios, and teacher deployment.


About the Speakers


Presentation by: 

Professor Geeta Kingdon holds the Chair of Education and International Development at the Institute of Education, University College London. Prior to this, she worked at the Department of Economics, University of Oxford for ten years. She has a BSc Hons. in Economics from the London School of Economics, and MSc and DPhil from the University of Oxford. Her research on Economics of Education is based mostly on statistical analysis of education datasets in developing countries.

Her published research has included determinants of school quality, gender bias in education, labour market outcomes of education and the political economy of education. Based on her research Professor Kingdon advises governments on education policy and practice. She is a member of the International Delivery Board of the RISE research programme based at the University of Oxford. In 2013, Professor Kingdon was awarded an honorary doctorate by Kingston University London for her “outstanding contributions to education and development”.



Dr. Vimala Ramachandran is part of ERU Consultants Private Limited. Dr. Ramachandran’s work focuses on elementary education, girls’ education, women’s empowerment and the intersection between health, nutrition, education and child care practices in children. She was involved in the conceptualisation of Mahila Samakhya (Education for Women’s Equality) and served as the first National Project Director from 1988-93 in the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India. She established the Educational Resource Unit (now known as ERU Consultants Private Limited) in 1998 as a network of researchers and practitioners working on education. From 2011 to mid-2015 she was a National Fellow and Professor of Teacher Management and Development in NUEPA. She has written extensively on school education – with a focus on equity and gender.


To attend the discussion VIA ZOOM, kindly register here.

Limited seats available, entry on first cum first served basis. To attend the session IN-PERSON, kindly send a mail at [email protected]