The headline of a news story in The Shillong Times, ‘Lonely teacher from EGH school absent for 3 years’ (ST September 3, 2022), didn’t shock me, but it causes pain. It shows the state of education and the Education Department of our state. No wonder that among the smaller states, Meghalaya leads the way for the second consecutive year from behind in the national survey conducted by PIE Index 2020-21 in Elementary and Secondary Education.
We are in party mode of the 50th anniversary of the state. It is a time of introspection about the developments in the state. Whether in road communications, industry, health, education, or tourism, in all of these areas, in my opinion, we are lagging far behind other states in the Northeast itself. We have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the state. After the construction of the airport in Tura, we say ‘the runway is short’ to operate the flights. What a colossal waste of public money and vain hopes for the people of Garo Hills.
For any state to grow and advance, education is the crucial factor, especially at the primary level. The Class X MBOSE Result shows that the pass rate in Garo Hills is between 28-32%. And if we take the Result of only government run school, it will be less than 10% I think.
Primary schools, with one or two teachers is unfair and those children are wronged. How can one or two teachers teach in five classrooms? It’s not superhumans to be in two classrooms at the same time! This indicates that the government does not take education seriously, especially in primary education. Will the MDCs, MLAs, ministers and other government officials send their children to these government schools? No one interferes with the state of affairs in the villages, be it education, health, roads, etc.
Most villages have a primary school and in some villages there is a primary and an SSA primary school. We wonder if there is a need for two government/subsidized schools in the same village. It is likely that the government does not appoint the minimum required teachers (at least one per class) because of the tax on the treasury. I think one of the solutions to this problem is to merge two or three primary schools and pool the human and material resources. Children in the villages can and will happily walk one or two kilometers. But are politicians and government prepared to take such steps? No, they are more concerned about the voting bank and petty interests. It is high time we wake up and renew our education system, especially in primary education.
A few days ago we celebrated Teacher’s Day. All teachers should respond to their inner voice, am I a responsible and committed teacher or am I part of the news item ‘Lonely teacher from EGH school 3 years absent’.
(Principal, Montfort School, Jonglapara, NGH)
The controversial MoU
We read an important news story on the front page of your esteemed daily newspaper about “Clear Mess in the first Six Areas” (ST August 22, 2022). Much has been written almost daily in the media, both in the English and local newspapers, about the controversial MoU signed by the two Chief Ministers (CMs) of Assam & Meghalaya in Delhi on March 29, 2022. The MoU is indeed controversial. For example, despite the historical facts and geographical proximity, which are the two most important of the five agreed-upon principles adopted by the two CMs, much of the Khanapara sector in the Ri Bhoi district was decided in favor of Assam. According to ‘Ki Syiem Khasi bad Synteng’, written by Dr. Homiwell Lyngdoh, LMS, MBE first published in 1938, the entire Borduar area i.e. from Nongkhlaw in the west to Khanapara in the east is occupied by the people led by Sajar Nangli (Shahjer) who left the Jaintia Kingdom around the first part of the 16th century. The people who now live in the villages from Bariduar where the University (USTM) is now located, up to Khanapara, are still aware of this historical fact. But the current Meghalaya government had ignored this fact; apparently it was trying to fight the need to involve historians and other intellectuals so they could decide the border issue on a give and take. Hence, instead of defining the boundary line along the National Highway from Jorabad to the Beltola Chariali junction, much of the Khanapara area was given to Assam. It is indeed a sale! The second example is that much of the Nonglang Sirdarship created by the British was given away to Assam.
One may recall that in the month of July last year, after a meeting of the two CMs in Shillong, they jointly announced the five principles to the media, but on the sidelines they mentioned a strange principle of give and take that does not prevent so many sharing of the Himas/Sirdarships pinned to the plains by the British to serve their own revenue interest must be restored. People still remember that the current CM of Assam was very present at an important meeting in Shillong where the decision was made in March 2018 after the general election to form the new government in Meghalaya. Who knows, the sale might be in return!
Junior D. Lamin
Pine Mount School Affairs
It is with regret that we have to note the state of affairs of Pine Mount School that has emerged in recent times. Either way, if the head no longer enjoys the confidence of the masses, it is imperative on the part of that head to step down gracefully to prevent further collapse of the system.
For example, if our prime minister were to lose the confidence of his council of ministers, it would certainly mean the collapse of the then government. The governor would have to intervene, even if the prime minister had only ten months to go before the general election. It would be absurd to say that the governor only recognizes the signature of the incumbent prime minister on paper.
What has happened is a slap in the face to the education department of the Meghalaya government for even suggesting that the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination would only recognize the signature of the incumbent principal for the next 10 months. This shows a lack of political and bureaucratic will to intervene where necessary. Let the light of heaven be our guide.
Allan W. Kharkongor,