The Times of India
For first time, more women teachers in schools than men in India outnumber their male counterparts, according to the Unified District Information on School Education report for 2019-20. Of the 96.8 lakh teachers in the country, 49.2 lakh are women.

In 2012-13, there were 35.8 lakh women teachers across India against 42.4 lakh men — marking a rise of 37% over seven years. In the same period, the number of male teachers rose from 42.4 lakh to 47.7.

There is a catch, though, women teachers top the head count only at the primary level. The report points out that upper primary onwards, the number of male teachers remains higher. At the pre-primary level, there are over 1 lakh women teachers to 27,000 men. In Karnataka, 57% or 2,57,790 of the 4,50,592 teachers are women.

The ratio is more balanced in primary grades, with 19.6 lakh women and 15.7 lakh male teachers. In upper primary classes, there are 11.5 lakh male and 10.6 lakh women teachers. From then on, the gap increases. In secondary schools, there are 6.3 lakh men and 5.2 lakh women teachers. In higher secondary, it’s 3.7 lakh men and 2.8 lakh women. In government and aided schools, the number of male teachers is higher, while in private unaided schools, women teachers are ahead.

The trend of male teachers outnumbering women in higher grades is seen across states, with the exception of Kerala, Delhi, Meghalaya, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, among big states. In these, number of women teaching is higher than men even in secondary and higher secondary classes. “Any dynamic and vital profession, and I consider teaching as one, must have equitable distribution of men and women.

Children need to learn from teachers who can offer a male as well as female perspective. In younger classes schools in India prefer women teachers, since they seem to be more nurturing. However, I think it’s good for male teachers to demonstrate nurture too! Otherwise, we’re demonstrating a sexist bias in favour of women teachers,” said Maya Menon, founder director of Teacher Foundation.

“In higher classes, traditionally both male and female teachers are sought after. There are also differential salaries in India between Primary and Secondary school, Maya Menon said.

This is not the case in other countries: all teachers regardless of the levels they teach require similar qualifications and, start with similar pay.

“Male teachers in India prefer to teach in secondary school because they get paid more especially with government scales,” she said.