Positive Trends in Education
The government of Arunachal Pradesh has taken a commendable step by approving to close down all schools that have zero enrolment. Education Minister Taba Tedir revealed during the state legislative assembly on Monday that the decision was taken after a survey conducted by the department of education found out that several government schools in the state were defunct due to zero enrolment of students. According to 2018-19 data of the Unified District Information on School Education Plus, there were 311 non-functional schools in Arunachal Pradesh. The minister said that the state government would concentrate on improving the existing functional schools and transfer the teachers of the defunct schools, mostly located in remote areas, to educational institutions that need educators. This is a progressive and bold move that not many states will dare to take because of the possible backlash it could invite from the people of the areas where defunct schools are situated. Such a tough measure is indispensable for curbing unnecessary spending and to impart quality education.
Interestingly, the situation of many government schools in Nagaland has an uncanny resemblance with those in the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh. There are many non-existent educational institutions in Nagaland, forget about non-functional ones. It’s an open secret but nobody dares to open the Pandora’s Box containing cruel facts that can affect and put the so called educators to shame for the bad precedent they have set for society, especially the young generation. This malfunction has become a system over the years, making it difficult for the government to initiate a crackdown. It has done a big disservice to the society besides crippling the economy of the state and draining the state exchequer as teachers continue to draw their salary without working. A huge chunk of the state’s fund goes into paying the salaries of many government employees who either do not work at all or illegally keep “proxies”. What was supposed to be a major asset to the society has turned into a liability. So, unless this liability is solved, society will continue to suffer in many aspects, including infrastructure and quality education besides destroying the work culture.
After decades of inaction, the state government has finally begun the crackdown on errant teachers as well as irregular employees. The School Education authorities recently announced that it had summoned 438 teachers from across the state to immediately report for work or face strict disciplinary action including suspension or termination of service. In yet another move to ensure that employees perform their duties, the state government had introduced “no work, no pay” policy for employees at Nagaland civil secretariat in Kohima by making biometric attendance records as the criterion for release of salary. It was a long-awaited move that will help rebuild the crumbling work ethics besides improving work efficiency at government offices. It should not be restricted to just one office in Kohima but to all government offices across the state. The general public should press for execution of policies that will help curb corruption and also ensure that positive developments do not slip into oblivion.