The decision of the School Education Department to hold a conference of District Education Officers (DEO), Deputy Inspector of Schools (DIS), Principals, Headmasters and Directorate Officials should be taken as a positive sign and a general realization that those running the affairs of the education system in the State are turning the searchlight on themselves and ready to accept and introspect on where the system and the people who run it may have gone wrong.
That such a conference was being held after many years also goes to show the complete failure on the part of the political leadership to address problems that has dogged the education system in Nagaland. It is an open secret that the School Education Department has over the years been dogged by various crisis including wide spread corruption which has only compounded other problems, which have had a negative bearing as far as providing quality education is concerned to the masses particularly in the Government run schools.
One area of concern which was raised revolved around the problem of random transfer orders issued, sometimes unauthorized which is largely the result of external interference in teachers’ recruitment and transfers, by the politicians. There is no reason why more teachers can be recruited through competitive examinations. A complete overhauling of recruitment policy must be undertaken so that the system is able to attract capable teachers who are qualified and committed to their profession. Unless such a policy is put into place, we may end up only producing truant teachers who would only draw their salaries and play politics in their boardrooms. The teaching profession in our State has by and large degenerated to such an extent that the teacher teaches not because they are interested in developing the character of students but because he or she gets the salary.
Improving quality of school education will ultimately revolve around the quality of infrastructure and support services, teacher’s role and also evolving pre-service and in-service education of teachers, proper curriculum and constant monitoring and supervision. As far as recruitment of teachers go there should be no compromise on standards and one’s own commitment to the profession. In Nagaland reports have been received about how some Government Primary School (GPS) had to be shutdown as there were no teachers. The non-availability of teachers at various GPS particularly in far flung outpost is a serious issue and hopefully the major introspection exercise conducted will do more good than harm.