An Indian state school says one of its teachers has been absent for 23 years of her 24-year career. Sangeeta Kashyap was recruited as a biology teacher in the central state of Madhya Pradesh in 1990. School authorities say they do not know when she was last paid a salary, but she is still listed as an employee.
State education officials said the teacher would be removed her from
the post. She is thought to have set an Indian record for staff absenteeism. Ms Kashyap spent her first year teaching in a school in the town of Dewas,
after which she took three years of leave. In 1994, she was transferred to a school in the city of Indore but then
applied for maternity leave and has never turned up for work.
Letters sent by the school to her address have remained unanswered, Sushma
Vaishya, principal of the Government Ahilya Ashram School in Indore, said. An education department official said they had written to education
authorities in the state capital, Bhopal, to have Ms Kashyap removed from her
post. "I have no idea why nothing was done. We are writing to them again to remove
her," Sanjay Goel said.
The school is allowed to have three biology teachers, but only two are filled
- with the third held by the absentee teacher. Absenteeism is a pervasive problem in government-run
schools in India. A World Bank study in 2004 found that 25% of teachers were absent from
school, and only about half were present during unannounced visits to government
primary schools. Ms Kashyap's whereabouts remain unknown. It is also not clear why she did not return to work or if she has been