Principal Secretary to Nagaland school education department Menukhol John said around 3,000 untrained elementary teachers, both private and government, in the state will be terminated from service by March 2019 in accordance with the guidelines from the government of India.
Addressing the All Nagaland School Teachers Association 40th triennial general conference in Government Higher Secondary School Viswema in Kohima district on Thursday, John said though termination from service was an unpleasant job for the department, it was being done at the directive of the Centre that only trained professionals should teach the children.
The principal secretary said the teachers need professional qualifications to be a teacher so as to bring change in the education system.
He said the school education department in the state is one of the biggest employers with 25% of the state’s budget being paid for salary. However, the government teachers were the “most irresponsible”, he lamented.
Referring to an official data, John said more than 20,000 teachers were employed in 1,013 government schools in Nagaland, but only 41% of students study in government schools.
He said enrolment in class 9 in government schools was 34.98% in 2016 but came down to 33.98% in 2017 and further dropped to 25% in 2018 while the percentage of enrolment in private schools was 74.62% in 2018.
He wondered that class 8 passed students could not read a simple question while fail percentage in class 9 was about 40%.
John said academic excellence can happen only when there is “professional renewal” while asserting that the school education department was ready to give the teachers the required exposure.
He appealed to the teachers not to interfere in administrative functioning during policy set-up and restructuring. “Let us give the department a chance to restructure, a time and chance to rise up again,” he stressed.
PWD minister Tongpang Ozukum, who was also present on the occasion, opposed the communitisation police followed by the school education department.
He said the policy had led to the department losing control over the teachers thereby increasing the “practice of proxy teachers”.
Ozukum said the teachers were behaving like employees of village education committees and ward education committees as more powers were given to these committees, forgetting that they were actually government employees meant to serve the people.
The minister suggested that the department periodically review the merits and demerits of the policy or else it would be kept in the dark about the happenings between the teachers and the village administration.
Stating that the communitisation policy had been adopted to check the practice of proxy teachers, he said unless the teachers honoured the department’s directive, the policy would never be successful and the students would continue to suffer.
Advisor to school education department K T Sukhalu, referring to a US-based news report, said the teachers in Nagaland were selling jobs and 60% to 70% of them kept proxies.