Govt & Deptt not immune to teachers’ problems: Sukhalu
Kohima, November 1: While maintaining that teachers are the heart of education system, Nagaland Minister for PWD (R&), Tongpang Ozkum on Thursday said that teaching is not just a job but a profession which comes with immense professional responsibility and accountability.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day 40th general conference of All Nagaland School Teachers Association (ANSTA) at John GHSS Viswema, the Minister said “teaching is a noble profession and being in this profession, you have bigger responsibilities than anyone, any other profession or job”.
Nonetheless, he lamented that many educated youths or even many of those who are employed as teachers consider teaching profession as the last resort for employment in government sector.
This, he said, is a dangerous perception while maintaining that “if you become a teacher not by your conscious choice but because you have no alternatives left, you remain accountable to the thousands of students, their future and also to the society”.
Pointing that the School Education Department have come up with different kind of policies and order to check the practice of keeping ‘proxy’ teachers, he however said that until and unless the teacher themselves honors the department’s directive, this order will never be implemented successfully and in the process our students will suffer.
The Minister was also of the view that communitizatlon policy has somehow loosened the department’s control over teachers by giving more power to the Village Education Councils (VECs) and Ward Education Councils (WECs).
“They (teachers) seem to have become servants of VEC or WEC and not government servants,” he said, adding that in connivance with the VEC and WEC, many of teachers are doing what they are not supposed to do.
Maintaining that in many schools this policy may be serving the purpose for which it was intended, the Minister however said that the department should periodically review the merits and demerits of this policy so that the government is not kept in dark what is happening in those schools.
Teaching is considered as the mother of all professions, and this profession should be taken seriously in order to build a better and brighter society, he said.
Ozukum therefore called upon teachers to honour their profession, because teaching is not just a job but a profession which comes with immense professional responsibility and accountability. “A dedicated teacher is considered as the best asset of any school so be an example to your school and your department and even amongst your colleagues,” he said.
He also encouraged them to demonstrate the highest standards of professional behavior, exercise professional judgment and act in a courteous and sensitive manner with the students as well as parents.
Collaborate in the development of school plans, policies and programs, you should also be familiar with the provisions of legislation relevant to your officials responsibility, he said.
Ozukum hoped that the conference would not be just a gathering but a time of ‘self-evaluation’ of their performance, contribution and achievement towards this noble profession as a teacher.
“Renew your commitment, your passion and enthusiasm for this profession and for your students”, he urged. He also suggested that instead of have different organizations, all the government teachers should come under the umbrella of ANSTA.
Meanwhile, Ozukum also declared that his village would be first to comply with composite school policy of the department.
Advisor for School Education, MLA K T Sukhalu while stating that teachers have chosen the profession to see that Nagaland has a brighter future through your service called upon them to take back the message to all their colleagues and remind them of the decision why they took to become a teacher.
“You not only teach but you show your students examples through your life style,” he said while encouraging them not to lose focus.
“You and I will not live forever but let us leave the legacy behind that we have done something for the youth and look at Nagaland develop and prosper through your students,” he said.
On the downgrading of many government schools due to poor performance in the HSLC and HSSLC examinations, he said “it was the fault of the department as we were unable to provided Maths and Science teachers while many schools run without Headmasters and Assistant Headmasters and more over all the teachers want to be posted in Dimapur”. In a jocular vein, he said so now the villages have to shift their schools to Dimapur.
Maintaining that government schools are opened in all the villages and teachers posted to ensure that village boys and girls also enjoy the same facilities as of the urban areas, he however lamented that majority of the teachers are not sincere in their service.
Quoting reports about Nagaland teachers selling jobs with 60-70% government teachers keeping proxy, he said this problem was not made today but is an inherited problem. The Advisor expressed shock to learn about village council resolution to keep proxy teachers of their own and not to allow the regular teacher to go to the school for teaching.
He asserted that government and department are not immune to the problems of teachers but teachers also have to be committed no matter where you are posted.
He also asserted to look into the problems put up by ANSTA especially with regard to promotion. He however said that if the teachers continue to fight amongst themselves the government can’t help.
Stating that government is trying best to post teachers, Head Masters and Assistant HMs to all the schools, he sought the cooperation of the teachers in achieving rationalization of teachers.
Sukhalu also reiterated to sacrifice his month’s salary for the school producing top result in 2019 HSLC and HSSLC exams.
Paradigm shift need to change education system in Nagaland: Menukhol
Principal Secretary Menukhol John speaking on the theme “Professional renewal towards academic excellence”, said that department has already deployed 20 inspection teams to collect records of teachers presence, enrollment of students and also the infrastructure of the government schools throughout the state.
Stressing on the need for change in the system of teaching, he reiterated that the untrained elementary teachers would be removed by March 2019.
Stating that government teachers are supposed to be the most trained and qualified, he however lamented that government teachers are unresponsive and involved in substance abuse during the professional trainings.
Teachers have to undergo proper training to change the system of teaching in the State, he questioned “We teach as teachers but are we bringing up generation that is usable and employable?”
Maintaining that education department is one of the largest employer in the state and consume 25% of the state budget, he said the department can’t continue to be employment bank. He pointed that as per the latest statistics the 20000 odd government teachers in the state takes care of barely 41% children in government schools while 59% are in private schools.
He also lamented that students enrolment 2016 for Class 9 enrolment in government schools which was 34.98% has come down to 25% in 2018 while cases are similar in Class 10 and Higher Secondary.
Also highlighting that Class 9 failure rate in 2017 was 40%, he said study reveals that it is because of weak elementary education in government schools. “As we go higher, nobody wants to come to government schools,” he said
In this, John said paradigm shift is needed in the education system with professional renewal and academic excellence.
He said that the department is ready to bring in more funds to give the required professional trainings to the teachers but whether the teachers are willing to instill that professional renewal in them.
Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary also appealed to the teachers to give the department a chance of restructuring – be it administrative, teachers and any other posts in the department.
Stating that performance based policies is being introduced in the state, he said that in line with the Made in Nagaland experiences the department is under taking the Laiphang and Sochum concept from Longleng and Tuensang districts.
The programme commenced with Pastor of Viswema Baptist Church, Rev Atha Neikha pronouncing invocation while welcome song was presented by Viswema Catholic Youth Association.
During the day open discussions were held on the topics “What ails the academic performance of government schools in Nagaland and how to improve it” and “Challenges of government school teachers in Nagaland – suggestions for remedial measure”.
The closing function will be held tomorrow with Additional Director Razouseyi Vese as the guest speaker. (Page News Service)