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Focus centred on students: Himanta

‘MLAs cite humanitarian grounds for transfer of teachers. But when such transfers take place and students are affected all of a sudden, who will take care of the loss suffered by students?’

Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 6: In a special session on the state of affairs of education in the State in the Assam Legislative Assembly on the last day of the budget session on Friday, State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said his whole education focus is students-centric, not teachers-centric, and urged the MLAs to come up with issues pertaining to students far more than those pertaining to teachers.
After the discussion on education in the Assembly, Sarma said, “During the whole discussion, most of the MLAs talked about the grievances of teachers, provincialization issues etc. No one talked about how to improve the quality of education and other issues related to students. I am sad about this. My stand is clear. Education has to be students-centric and they must get quality education.”
The minister, while hinting that MLAs should not approach him on the issue of transfer of teachers in schools, said the whole focus should be on the plight of students who might suffer as a result of sudden transfer of teachers on any humanitarian grounds. “MLAs cite humanitarian grounds for transfer of teachers. But when such transfers take place and students are affected all of a sudden, who will take care of the loss suffered by students?” he said, adding: “I shall fully accept all the suggestions put forth by the MLAs on students-centric affairs, but teachers-related issues and other problems will be sorted out as per rules. There is a section of teachers who are out in the streets virtually throughout the whole year. What education will they impart to their students? Do these teachers take any casual leave when they take to agitation and dhar?”
Sarma also dwelt on the issues related to postgraduate and PhD degrees. “It has come to our notice that certain PG and PhD degrees are taken from some particular universities such as Magadh University and Viyak University. We have doubt on the credibility of these institutions.  We’ll cross-examine such degrees. As per rules, action will be taken,” he said.
On the issue of madrassa education in the State, Sarma wondered why there should any teacher for Arabic language in schools and colleges where there are no students or very few students taking the subject. “You are talking of Arabic teachers. Does any Assamese language teacher teach Assamese in any Arabic land?”
This led to protests from both the Congress and AIUDF. In his reply, the minister said, “We’re trying to modernize the madrassas. We’re trying to include science education, including mathematics. We’re trying to modernize the whole system. It should not be Arabic-centric alone.”