Rio Urges Collective Effort To Tackle Education Issues In Nagaland - Eastern Mirror
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Rio urges collective effort to tackle education issues in Nagaland

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Feb 14, 2024 10:07 pm
Neiphiu Rio, Salhoutuonuo Kruse, Dr. Kekhielhoulie Yhome, Kudecho Khamo and others during the inauguration of GHS Meriema on Wednesday. (EM Images)

MERIEMA — Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday said that government educational institutions in the state are plagued by multiple issues, with some schools having a nil enrolment, some with single digit strength, some have more students than teachers, while others have students but face teachers’ shortage, resulting in agitations and protests.

It is the bounden duty of the government and the public to address these issues; all stakeholders — government, departments, teachers, village leaders and parents – should make concerted efforts to ensure quality education to children, which is vital for progress of the society, he said.

The CM was addressing the inaugural programme of Government High School (GHS) Meriema in Kohima. The 97-year-old Government Middle School is now upgraded to a high school.

Lamenting the gradual deterioration in the quality of education in government schools in the state despite having highly qualified teachers with salaries much higher than that of their counterparts in private schools, he said it’s a collective failure which should be rectified through collective effort.

Literacy alone not enough

Rio underscored the need for quality education, saying that many are not employable due to lack of it though the state has 80% literacy rate.

Knowledge and literacy alone is not enough, he said, emphasising the need to focus on wisdom in order to excel.

Maintaining that the government is advocating meritocracy, he said one has to clear Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) and Nagaland Staff Selection Board (NSSB) examinations to get a government job, with exception for Grade-IV, which is done through department recruitment.

GHS Meriema

A mission school was established in Meriema in 1927 when Charles Pawsey was the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the village leaders nurtured it, realising the importance of education, Rio said while acknowledging the past leaders for their visionary endeavours which have benefited the community.

He lauded the Meriema Village Council for constructing the Government High School with their own fund while assuring help in providing infrastructure.

Expressing satisfaction over student enrolment at the Government High School Meriema with over 200 children, he said it is a good number, while urging the people to aim for higher pursuit.

Providing more information, Neiketou Kiewhou, Assistant Headmaster of GHS Meriema, said that a proposal was submitted in 2022 for upgrading the Government Middle School to a Government High School, which was subsequently approved and upgraded in 2023.

He added that the school has 14 teaching staff, one Assistant Headmaster and more than 200 students for the academic session 2024, making it the school with highest student enrolment under EBRC Chiephobozou.

Excess schools, teachers

While pointing out that there are many criteria for establishment and upgrading of schools, he said the potential exaggeration of population in the 2001 Census had led to creation of an excessive number of schools as well as surplus appointment of teachers.

In this regard, Rio said that the department of School Education led by Advisor Dr. Kekhrielhoulie Yhome has been undertaking a massive exercise and research; that it has pointed out various aspects that need to be changed and has been working towards it.

While maintaining that some may like or dislike the process, he lauded the initiatives that have been taken with concern, experience and courage.

INR 6 crore spent in private schools

Also speaking at the programme, Advisor of School Education and SCERT, Dr. Kekhrielhoulie Yhome said that education in Nagaland is still in nascent stage, with the matriculate from the state was recorded in 1918 and the first graduate in 1924.

Established in 1927, the now upgraded high school in Meriema is an old school, he added.

He updated that there are 247 high schools in Nagaland, including 47 in Kohima and six in northern Angami area, urging the people to safeguard and nurture the schools.

There are many families in the state that are struggling and not as privileged as the others but the number of students in private schools stands at 2.59 lakh, compared to 1.50 lakh students in government schools, he said.

He said that many are facing debt burden due to children’s education with parents spending INR 20,000 to INR 25,000 per student on an average (annually), which means an average INR 6 crore is spent for schooling in private schools in the state.

Citing the huge burden faced by the parents, Dr. Yhome said that reclaiming the prestige of government school in the state is the need of the hour, towards which the incumbent state government under the leadership of CM Rio is also striving.

Led by Kedoulhoulie Houzha, Chairman of Meriema Village Council, the programme also saw martial arts, choral and folk song presentations.

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Feb 14, 2024 10:07:23 pm
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