Morung Express News
Kohima | February 21
Given tall claims of upgradation of schools in Nagaland State under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a flagship program of the central government to boost education, The Morung Express visited some RMSA sponsored schools and found that many such “upgraded” schools are just on paper, with no buildings or even teachers to impart education in government-run schools.
A former secretary of a Village Education Committee explained that for a school to be “upgraded,” it has to apply for the upgradation through the District Planning and Development Board, which then sends it to the Directorate of School Education. After the latter’s approval, RMSA is responsible for construction and deployment of teachers. On the other hand, Headmasters of secondary schools are appointed by the Directorate of School Education.
However, in this case, “We are guided by the decision of the cabinet,” said Thejao Vihienuo, Nagaland State’s RMSA Mission Director.
Vihienuo mentioned that it was only in November 2015 that the Nagaland State Government “approved” the upgradation of only 112 of the 168 schools meant to be upgraded—once upgraded, the funds are released.
But the RMSA, being a flagship program, is temporary and can be lifted any time. To ensure that the teachers employed under RMSA are inducted into the State Government, recruitments were delayed, explained Vihienuo. This led to the lack of teachers in RMSA schools as highlighted yesterday.
Another big hurdle to the recruitment and deployment of teachers, however, came in the form of a Central government requirement. All teachers needed a B.Ed degree. According to Vihienuo, the Centre’s requirements for Teachers included B.Ed qualifications which most aspirants/teachers (applying for the post of teachers) lacked.
“It was only on 26 November, 2015, that the cabinet gave us the decision to recruit teachers with preferences for B.Ed. But where B.Ed candidates are not available, teachers will be recruited under the condition that they complete B.Ed within five years,” said Vihienuo, adding that the study of B.Ed in the country is governed by the National Council of Teacher Education whose minimum prescribed percentage for admission to B.Ed is 50 percent and five per cent relaxation for STs and SCs.
While it may take considerable time to follow procedure and put the teachers into the schools, funds also have posed a problem. The Mission Director clarified that once a school is “upgraded,” the money is not sanctioned fully at one time but in installments.
“They (RMSA at the centre) gave us the installments with which we have started 35 schools (2009-10) and 67 schools (2011-12),” noted Vihienuo, adding that the second installment fund was sanctioned last year but is yet to be released by the Nagaland State Finance Department.
It may however be noted that Phokhungri GHS and GHS Diki also comes under the 2011-2012 phase of upgradation—the Phokhungri GHS was even inaugurated to be upgraded by the then Director of School Education, Nagaland, but no new constructions have showed up till date.
Nonetheless, the RMSA Mission Director, Nagaland, is hopeful. Though it is taking time, and much money has already been pooled into the system, he remains optimistic about the appointments and posting orders that have already gone out and upgraded schools will finally receive some teachers.
Nagaland State has a Nagaland Education Mission Society (NEMS) which functions to monitor and implement SSA and RMSA. A suo moto disclosure of 2013-2014 mentions that the NEMS will comprise of the Governing Body headed by the Chief Minister, followed by the Executive committee headed by the Chief Secretary and finally the State mission office. The main duty of the NEMS, according to their statement, is to monitor and implement the National flagship programs of RMSA in the State.