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No light at the end of tunnel yet for state’s School Education dept

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 27, 2019 1:15 am
Menukhol John (centre) at the secretariat conference hall in Kohima on April 26.

Our Correspondent

Kohima, April 26 (EMN): The state’s School Education department continues to suffer from all-round poor performances, despite recent attempts to mend its damaged reputation.

According to the Principal Secretary of School Education, Menukhol John, the performance index of Nagaland’s government schools has “not improve at all.” He was speaking during a one-day meeting with district education officers and sub-divisional education officers for “strengthening of school education,” in Kohima on April 26.

Nagaland showed the “worst performance” in the entire country when it came to uploading Mid Day Meal (MDM) report on Automated Monitoring System (AMS), he said. According to the Union Ministry’s directive, school heads must upload the enrolment of MDM on AMS, to get the real time information daily.

John was disappointed that the directorate “never received reports” from DEOs or SDEOs with regard to MDM. He asked the officers to “at least keep some report” ready during his scheduled visit to schools in the month of May.

He appreciated Peren district for actively updating its MDM report. According to him, the district had updated its report 10 times, despite being affected by the monsoon mayhem last year. Mokokchung district updated on eight occasions; Wokha, twice; Tuensang and Kohima, once. None of the other districts updated their reports even once.

Though the schools may be “active offline” unless it is uploaded online, the results will always be projected as zero, he said. The central government has scrapped sanction for construction of MDM kitchen, John informed.

The principal secretary asked the DEOs and the SDEOs to seek help from the community to ‘build traditional granaries for the storage of MDM grains.’ He also assured “minimum support” from the directorate.

“We (School Education department) have always been portrayed in a wrong line (sic),” John said. He “requested” the teachers to be at their respective place of posting and to interact with the people, students, and parents.

He highlighted other issues and loopholes. ‘We are good at receiving funds and using it but submission of monthly expense report is very weak and not regular,’ he said.

There are some schools, according to John, which deduct unspecified amount from the teachers’ salary to cover the cost of attending meetings at the directorate office in Kohima. “Such practises demean the office that we occupy,” he said.

Another issue, he said, was “preparing pay bills” of employees who were “retired and expired.” Drawing salaries of those who “are long gone is not right and one should not do this,” John said.

He said that the directorate often faces “embarrassing situations;” handiworks of the department’s officers or the minister concerned involving transfer and re-deployment orders. The principal secretary shared that the directorate is planning to revert the trend by introducing a new scheme in the state.

Plans are also afoot to “upscale” spelling bee competition among government schools, he said.

A slight decrease in the enrolment of students to government schools was reported in Dimapur district. In 2018, the total enrolment stood at 11,033; while it was 10,873 in 2019. All the districts presented their respective report during the meeting.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 27, 2019 1:15:56 am