Chief Minister Pema Khandu today reiterated his commitment to streamline the education sector and strictly directed all deputy commissioners to reassess the education scenario in their respective districts and independently work out ways and means to overhaul it without fear or favour.
Speaking live to the deputy commissioners through video conferencing from the state civil secretariat today, Khandu said the poor performance of students in the last board exams exemplifies lack of seriousness on part of officials that calls for strict actions from the deputy commissioners and their personal intervention in streamlining the education scenario in their districts.
He categorically directed the DCs of Kurung Kumey, Kra Dadi, Tirap, Lower Dibang Valley and Namsai that fared lowest in the board exams to tighten up their belts and bring back the dwindling education scenario in their districts to good if not the best.
Khandu blamed the ‘no detention’ policy as one of the hindrances in producing quality students and expressed hope that it would be discarded soon. Meanwhile, he announced that board examinations would be re-introduced in the state for Class five and eight to keep a quality check on primary education.
He directed the deputy commissioners to have all class one officers in the district to adopt one school each and personally monitor its functioning by becoming a member of the school management committee. The officer should visit the school at least once a week and report its progress to the district administration, he said.
When pointed out by one of the DCs, Khandu admitted the existence of few schools that are not feasible in reality but had to be established under the RTE act. Lower Dibang Valley DC had pointed out that some schools in his district are running with only 3 to 8 students against 6-7 teachers.
Khandu informed that he has already directed all legislators to list out such schools with the help of district administrations so that these are clubbed together into one school with sufficient students and corresponding teachers and infrastructure. He requested the DCs to help in this endeavour so that defunct and infeasible schools are closed down and focus is concentrated on functional schools.
He also suggested that the capacity of existing residential schools may be increased so that these can accommodate students of those schools, which are running with very less number of students.
Khandu asked the deputy commissioners to do an in-depth exercise on required education infrastructure and submit proposals to the state government immediately.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, present in the video conferencing, said the DCs should not only focus on higher secondary and secondary schools but also concentrate on the feeder schools. He pointed students of feeder schools in villages and interior places graduate to secondary and higher secondary schools, therefore if the feeder schools don’t impart quality education focusing only on secondary and higher secondary schools would be in vain.
To the two main reasons – lack of subject teachers and textbooks – cited by majority of the deputy commissioners for the poor education scenario, Education Minister Honchum Ngandam assured that these are being sorted out. He informed that the department is collecting every detail from the ground and the requisite number of teachers, especially for maths and science subjects, is being recruited. Also fund for procurement of text books has already been released and all the districts would receive their share of textbooks soon.
The video conferencing also reviewed implementation of Swatch Bharat Mission (Grameen) of the center that assures Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2nd October 2019. However, PHE & WS Minister Bamang Felix informed that the state government has set 31st December 2017 as ODF target for the state and urged the deputy commissioners to achieve it in their respective districts.
Taking status reports on it from the DCs, Felix categorically stated that the PHED is only its implementing agency but the success and failure of the program is the sole responsibility of the deputy commissioners. He said only construction of household latrines is not enough but its proper use and sustainability of the program is important for which creating mass awareness amongst the people is necessary and for this, he pointed, the role of the district administration was of utmost importance.
He congratulated West Kameng district administration for achieving 100% ODF status well before the timeframe and urged the rest to follow suit. All the DCs assured that the target would be positively achieved by 31st December this year.
Other programs reviewed during the marathon video conference were grameen vidyutikaran (rural electrification) that aims to electrify all villages by end of this year, Aadhar enrollment, CM’s flagship programmes, ongoing SPA projects, GST and Direct Benefit Transfer or DBT (food subsidy schemes).
The video conference was also joined by Chief Secretary Shakuntala Gamlin, Principal Secretary Satyagopal, Commissioner Finance, Planning & Investment Ashish Kundra, Commissioner Education Hage Kojeen, Commissioner PHE&WS Hage Khoda Shalla and Secretary Planning Dr Joram Beda.
As many as 13 deputy commissioners interacted during the video conference from their respective offices, which was facilitated by NIC.