|Meghalaya chief secretary W.M.S. Pariat and other officials with leaders of the Joint Action Committee of All Teachers’ Associations of Meghalaya in Shillong on Monday. Picture by UB Photos
Shillong, Sept. 30: Meghalaya is perhaps one of the few states in the country with an intricate education system in view of the prevalence of various categories of schools and teachers.
The labyrinth is astounding: The state has the pre-primary ad hoc system (state-adopted operation blackboard scheme), ad hoc system (lower primary to higher secondary level), improved system in the upper primary level, deficit/non-government system at the lower primary level, deficit pattern in the upper primary and secondary level, deficit system at the upper primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, including some colleges, government schools and colleges, besides private schools and colleges.
There are at least 1,857 ad hoc schools (lower primary to higher secondary) with 7,082 teachers while there are 12 schools (upper primary and secondary) with 98 teachers under the deficit pattern. Over and above, there are 2,193 schools (lower primary to higher secondary) under the deficit system with 6,603 teachers.
To ensure a uniform pattern of all government-aided schools, the teachers, under the banner of the Joint Action Committee of All Teachers’ Associations of Meghalaya (JACATAM), today met chief secretary W.M.S. Pariat and officials of the education department. They have given the government three months to come up with a solution to this intricate structure.
“Existence of multi-layered systems of grant-in-aid schools with widening gaps in pay structures in these systems is a peculiar system only in Meghalaya which is undesirable, as pointed out in the draft state education policy,” the chairman of the association, E.D. Nongsiang, told reporters after the meeting.
The association is an umbrella body of all school and college teachers’ associations in the state, and recently, it had organised a series of agitation programmes to ensure that its demands are taken into consideration by those in power.
As one of the answers to solve the multi-layered system, the teachers have asked the government to provincialise the services of all those teachers who are in government-aided schools. They also want the pay structure to be standardised.
For this, the association has given three months’ time to the government as they felt that Meghalaya should follow in the footsteps of other states like Goa, Kerala, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and a host of others to standardise the system.
At the same time, the teachers have asked the government to put in place specific service rules and rules of conduct and discipline. They also lamented the fact that the existing management rules and regulations/guidelines have become obsolete.
“Absence of specific service rules and management rules and regulations has brought about a confusing, non-uniform, and lopsided situations in schools of various categories. This has resulted in a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of teachers and management,” Nongsiang said.
He said the government was in line with the demand to provincialise the services of teachers, but wanted time to make a comparative study with the existing practices in other states.
Further, the association asked the government to constitute the Teachers’ Service Commission, which would look into the appointment of teachers across the board. Nongsiang said by having such a commission, there would be transparency in teachers’ appointments.
Moreover, the teachers urged the government to come up with suitable reforms in the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBoSE). These include timely payment of scholarships to students, making the syllabus for Class XI relevant to present-day demands especially for science and commerce students who have to appear for college entrance examinations, revisiting the system of best-of-five subjects in the Class X board examinations and others.