| Nitish Kumar at the Teachers’ Day programme in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Chief minister Nitish Kumar launched a two-year training programme for teachers besides other schemes during a Teachers’ Day function organised by the state education department.
“Our focus should be on providing quality education to students. The teaching-learning process should be interesting so that students are attracted to schools,” the chief minister said while launching the programme to train teachers.
Under the programme, the State Council of Educational Research and Training would train around 40,000 teachers at elementary schools. After the two-year programme, the teachers would get a diploma in elementary education (DEd).
The state government raised contract teachers’ pay by Rs 3,000. More such hikes would happen, Nitish said.
The function coincided with the launch of academic session of 15 community colleges. The education department has selected 15 colleges across the state to be developed as community colleges, offering job-oriented courses like retail, food processing, automobiles, mobile communication, healthcare and others. Three colleges are from Patna — Patna Womens’ College, AN.College, and JD Women’s College. Each college will run two courses.
Nitish also talked on issues like raising student enrolments in government schools, increasing strength of women in school management committees and strengthening midday meal schemes.
Without taking any names, the chief minister indirectly attacked the proponents of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of development. He said: “We can avail help and facility from other development models but we cannot borrow the entire model from other states, as development models differ from state to state.”
Condemning the Gandaman Primary School incident, where 23 children died after consuming midday meal laced with poison, Nitish said: “It is a sad incident. Efforts should be made to ensure there is no repetition.” He refrained from any direct attack on any person or party but hinted at a conspiracy by pointing to incidents of poison in hand pumps and pesticides recovered from several schools.
He announced construction of kitchen sheds at schools (right now food is cooked in the open) and provision for training programmes cooks. Sources said the Centre would provide Rs 60,000 and the state government bear Rs 90,000 additional cost for kitchen sheds.
Education minister P.K. Shahi said teachers’ recruitment would be completed by December to bridge the teacher-student gap. Education department principal secretary Amarjeet Sinha said because of steps by the government, school attendance had risen to 65-70 per cent.