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Nagaland begins crackdown on proxy teachers


Guwahati, November 11: Nagaland has undertaken an exercise to cleanse the education system of proxy teachers “appointed” by regular employees in order to avoid working out of their comfort zones.
The crackdown began with the State’s Directorate of School Education ordering 16 teachers to join their places of posting in Kiphire district, bordering Myanmar, on Monday.
To ensure that these teachers do not go back to their old ways of letting a substitute teach on their behalf, the directorate asked them to email their photographs with the school building in the background as well as photographs while taking classes. The directorate has sought such photos every day from November 11 to the end of the academic session this year.
“The reforms in the education sector have begun in earnest with inspection of schools,” said Mmhonlumo Kikon, BJP legislator and the State government’s advisor for IT, Science and Technology. He credited the reforms to school education advisor K. Tokugha Sukhalu and the department’s principal director Shanavas C.
The crackdown started from November 4 to 7 with Shanavas undertaking inspection of schools in Kiphire district. He found 16 teachers absent from their duty, but with proxies teaching on their behalf.
“We don’t have data on how many proxy teachers are working but the situation is very grave. We have made a start and hope the step taken against the Kiphire teachers would send a message to other teachers who have been guilty of such unethical practice,” Shanavas told The Hindu.
He added that district education officials have been asked to survey the schools in their areas of operation toward purging the system of proxy teachers, many of whom are not qualified to teach.
Investigations by NGOs in the past had revealed the regular teachers usually pay their proxies a fraction of their salaries while staying put at home in urban centres or villages in a different district and pursuing business or other vocations. The proxies teach in the name of the regulars.
Sukhalu said the 16 teachers have been told to sign an undertaking they would henceforth be regular and not keep proxy in their place of posting. “The undertaking has to be countersigned by the head of the institute, Village Education Committee, and district education officer or sub-divisional education officer. Failure to comply with the order will invite legal action and termination of service without any further notice,” he added.
On November 8, the Directorate of School Education published the names of the 16 teachers in Kiphire district who either kept proxies or were absent from duty for a long period. One of the teachers, a woman posted at Government Middle School at Zhimkiur, had “appointed” two locals as proxy teachers. (Courtesy: The Hindu)