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Work of govt. schools reviewed: Teachers blamed for poor results

By EMN Updated: May 28, 2016 12:27 am

KOHIMA, MAY 27 : Following the declaration of the High School- and Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate (HSSLC) examinations recently, government schools in the state have once again come under severe public scrutiny and criticism. The Nagaland Government Higher Secondary School Employees’ Association (NGHSSEA) consisting of school administrators and teachers today conducted their third edition of HS- and HSSLC result analysis.

Out of 41 Government Higher Secondary Schools (GHSS) in the state, one school had ‘nil’ result and one produced 100% pass percentage in the HSSLC 2016 exam. In the HSLC 2016 level, 30 out of 202 government high schools produced ‘nil’ results.

The day-long event, held at De Oriental Grand in Kohima, was convened as an attempt to reflect on the results produced by the 41 existing GHSS as a case study and to explore the possibility of working out a more effective academic and administrative strategy at school levels.

Minister for School Education, Yitachu, who attended the seminar as the chief guest, did not mince much word in blaming teachers for the poor performance of government schools. While acknowledging the schools that produced good results, he said many of them, with poor results, had teachers who fought tooth and nail to be posted in those very schools. “Your posting is directly linked with the performance of your school,” he told teachers.

Reminding that only 202 out of 294 government high schools managed to send their students to appear in the HSLC 2016 examinations and 30 of them produced nil result, he said its was a ‘great worry’ and “our concern” should reach the root of the problem.

The minister also pointed out that the results did not match the expenditure that the state was spending on the education sector, which comes up to about one-fourth of the state’s budget. “The DoSE is 52 years old but only right now we are in a transitional stage… All of a sudden there has been a huge explosion of opening higher secondary schools, primary schools, and upgrading of existing schools without making proper analysis or studying the situation,” he said. This, he said, was made on ‘wrong concept.’ “We as a department, the people, the villagers, the authorities… Everybody was wrong because the idea itself was wrong – opening of schools to give employment. It should be to give education!” Yitachu asserted. He added that after the schools were opened, ‘no one bothered how they were being run, as long as posts were created and the teachers were claiming salaries whether or not they attended classes.’

While expressing deep concern at teachers not being regular in their places of posting, the minister announced that the state government had in principle taken the decision to revisit the system of payment of salaries to teachers and staff in cash. He said two principal factors were missing in the Naga society today: moral guidance and practical guidance. Their lack is being reflected in what the people are facing, he said.

‘No bifurcation’

On the demand for bifurcation of secondary/elementary levels of education, the minister felt that it was not an appropriate time at a juncture when the department was being plagued ‘by various factors.’ He said it was not an easy process to bifurcate the department when even the required number of teachers are yet to be provided, and without a proper analysis, he maintained that it will be against the interest of the students.

This would also come against the impending national educational policy of composite schools, he pointed out, which is laying emphasis on ‘no stand-alone school’ system. He added that bifurcation of different levels of education was already tested and studied in India and was found to be unfeasible. Towards this end, he asserted that it will not be possible to bifurcate only for classes 11 and 12, as such will result in more wasteful expenditure on the staffing pattern in the form of ‘paying more for less work’.

“Let us work on the many problems that needs to be settled first in the department,” Yitachu said, underscoring the need to work for the cause of the common people by reaching out to the far flung areas and deliver quality education.

He also stated that a guideline or policy cannot be created to fit a small group of people’s aspirations and compromise the general people’s interest. Pointing out that there should not be any distinction between different groups of teachers, he further expressed hope that these aspects should be realized so as to make the system of delivery better.

School Education additional director & head of department, Wonthungo Tsopoe also spoke on similar lines while exhorting the gathering on the occasion. He said that looking at the results of the government schools brings to mind the glaring need to evaluate the performance of teachers. He admitted to the department having complex problems and lots of serious challenges and opined that only collective efforts would see it through and revive the department.

The dismal HSLC results, he said, is one of the challenges. This is a very discouraging trend and calls for strategising improvement of the primary and elementary levels so that the higher levels can improve, the official stated. He also remarked that while the education system is being infested with various problems, some associations under the department, instead of cooperating, are concerned with their own issues while on the other hand, some teachers are defying and compromising the nobility of the teaching profession.

Tsopoe pointed that there are many teachers who are highly qualified but are drawing their salaries without attending classes, losing the quality of ‘work culture’. There are many teachers who are not willing to serve in the interior places and want to be posted in urban towns like Dimapur and Kohima or in their respective district headquarters, he lamented. He remarked that this is compromising the education of students and in turn, doing great injustice to the society. He also pointed out that the government spends total Rs.9236 crores annually on the salary of the education department alone and with such a huge amount being invested for education, the government schools should be producing quality education.

The official is of the view that no one forced anyone to become a teacher, it is the (appointed) teachers themselves who chose this profession, and thus they should be sincere in their profession. The mistake of a teacher(s) is reflected on the society, he stated, and stressed that the society will not progress unless the teaching fraternity perform their duty.

Other aspects that need looking into, according to him, are improvement of low enrolment in government schools, proper recruitment policy, review of recognition of teachers and improvement of the system of processing of files at the directorate level. The official also acknowledged four NCS officers posted in interior areas who are reportedly helping in teaching at government schools in their place of posting.

By EMN Updated: May 28, 2016 12:27:10 am