Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | November 6
While the issue of ‘proxy teachers’ has long haunted the education system in the state, Dr. Kekhrie Yhome, Advisor to School Education & SCERT told The Morung Express in an exclusive interview that, “it is impossible for proxy teachers in the new system”. Stating that “proxy teachers are now a thing of the past,” he maintained that this was previously encouraged by the village councils themselves but it has now become difficult to keep proxy teachers.
Although unreported, there are also clear evidences of some government schools spread across different villages and districts of Nagaland, that the number of enrolment of students is being manipulated. In relation to this, the Advisor stated that starting this year, all the students’ names and their parents’ names are being verified while adding that, “perhaps, next year, we will ask for their photos besides the student health card which we are initiating.” “These are ways we will be able to verify,” he said.
Further referring to the low enrolment in government schools, he underlined that, “if they don’t have students, we will close down their schools.” “Every khel or colony wants a school,” he indicated but however put across that they are now looking into aspects like the centrality of the school and also working with the community and the students’ unions while urging for a sense of ownership in this regard.
Earlier this year, the World Bank funded project, Nagaland Education Project- The Light House NECTAR (Nagaland Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources) also rolled out the pilot for Teachers Attendance Monitoring System (TAMS), primarily to tackle proxy teachers and also to make attendance and leave more manageable and smarter for users.
According to the latest update from the project, the software is currently being designed and the SOP (Standard Operations Procedure) is being developed. TAMS is expected to operationalize with the new scholastic year.
School Education constitutes about 20% of Nagaland Government’s employment
With 2,2314 employees, the Department of School Education forms about 20% of the Nagaland Government’s employment.
According to the department data, there are 266 employees in the Grade I category (Class I-Gazzetted) and 796 employees in the Grade II category (Class-II Gazzetted). Under the Grade III Category comprising of Regular (14,837), Adhoc (2,742), Contractual (1,037) and Fixed (451), there are a total of 19067 employees and a total of 2,185 under the Grade-IV category; wherein there are 1,323 in Regular, 539 in Adhoc, 78 in Contractual and 245 in the Fixed categories respectively.
The teachers data indicates that there are 578 Post-Graduate Teachers, 4,961 Graduate Teachers, 9,637 Primary Teachers, 131 Language Teachers, 161 Hindi Graduate Teachers, 1,803 Under-Graduate Hindi Teachers, 183 Physical Education Teachers and 116 Vocational Teachers/Trainers respectively.
As far the salary teachers is concerned, Dr Yhome clarified that the regular teachers under the State Government are getting proper salary while however stating that, “we need to understand that there are 4 categories of teachers namely, Regular, Adhoc, Contractual and Fixed.”
Even as the department is in the process of identifying the difficulties and challenges that have plagued the education system in the state over the past several decades, the Advisor expressed that, “all our dreams are at a base level” while pointing to the many hurdles are ahead such as the ‘rationalisation of teachers’.
However, spelling his vision for the future of education in Nagaland, he called for team work and expressed belief that they are trying to reform the system in good faith. “We are going to be pushy, and not let things bog us down despite a lot of undercurrents working against us,” he stated. He also highlighted that it has been an educating process for everybody and is clearly contented to be overseeing the Education Department having come from the same background himself.
“I feel that I can do justice because I have experience in this field,” he further commented.