Sunday, June 20, 2021
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Online Classes, School Fees and Teachers’ Salaries

Nagaland is great for imitating developed cultures and societies, without having a clue to the substance behind the things we ape, and out of total touch with reality. The latest such absurd fad is the “online classes”.
Online classes are based on two premises, (a) every child has access to good internet services (b) every child has access to an internet connected computer or smart device.
On the first premise, it is a fact that Nagaland has horrible internet connectivity. Even residents of the capital, Kohima and the commercial hub, Dimapur, regularly complain about the internet services, so, you can imagine how users in other parts of Nagaland suffer.
But the second premise is where the real problem lies. Thousands of children of the poor study in our government schools. Their parents hardly have enough to eat, and certainly have no money to buy a computer or a smart device, let alone have access to the internet. Depending on online education deprives them of their right to an education.
And private schools have thousands of children of daily wage earners who suffer from the same lack of access to a smart device. I was forwarded a message, by my sister Mr. Katoli K Chishi, about the mother of a student of one of our private schools. Apparently when the mother spoke of her lack of a smart phone, the teacher berated her and told her to buy one immediately! Can you imagine the level of crass barbarity and insensitivity on the part of that teacher? The mother kept silent, but later lamented that when she did not have enough money to buy rice, how could she afford a smart phone?
What the schools must do is provide comprehensive hard copy notes for parents to pick up from the schools. This should apply to all schools, government and private. Online classes seem to be an excuse, for some schools, to extract school fees, when in fact, many students are being denied their rightful education.
On the subject of school fees, not all private schools are equal, some make money, hand over fist, while some just scrape through. I believe that the Kros Educational Foundation has waived all school fees for the period of the lockdown, a very Christian and commendable decision. I hope that some money minting educational institutions will follow their lead. Those who can afford to do so, should waive school fees, while still paying their teachers their full salaries.
Others schools should waive the fees of the children of genuine daily wage earners or at least reduce a percentage of their fees, with an equal deduction of a percentage of the salaries of their teachers. The Government of Nagaland should pay the shortfall in the Teachers’ salaries.
This is just a rough idea, but it reduces the burden of paying school fees for the economically deprived parents, while ensuring the salaries of the teachers. The question before us is, “Is the Government of Nagaland trying to find ways and means to alleviate the problems of its citizens, or is its sole purpose finding ways and means to extract money out of the misery of its citizens?”
God save Nagaland
Kahuto Chishi Sumi
Akukau, Hevishe Village, Khaghaboto Range, Dimapur

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