SHILLONG: The State Government has no policy to classify the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) schools in the State. The erstwhile SSA list in Meghalaya comprises 2,907 Lower Primary Schools and 2,232 Upper Primary Schools.
The fact has been revealed after the central body of Meghalaya SSA School Association (MSSASA), sought information through the ‘Right to Information Act’ asking for clarification under which category the State Government will classify the SSA Schools in the State of Meghalaya as mentioned in the ‘Meghalaya State Education Policy-2018’.
“The existing categories of schools are ‘Government’, ‘Government Aided’, ‘Deficit’, ‘Deficit Pattern’, ‘Ad hoc’, ‘SSA’ and ‘Private’. However, there is no policy of the State Government to classify the SSA Schools,” says the Deputy Director of School Education and Literacy while replying to the RTI Application dated March 6, 2019 and April 3, 2019 submitted by Aristotle C Rymbai, president of the Meghalaya SSA School Association, central body.
However, the Association has pointed out, “Para 3.5 sub para 3.5. 6 of the ‘Meghalaya State Education Policy-2018 states that the government will streamline the existing categories of schools and classify them into ‘Government’, ‘Government Aided’, ‘Partially Aided’ and ‘Private’ Schools only”.
Expressing its dissatisfaction on the stand of State government on this aspect, the MSSASA had recently submitted a representation to the State Government through the Director of School Education and Literacy who is also the State Project Director of SEMAM (SSA).
In the representation, the Association also pointed out, the ‘Meghalaya State Education Policy-2018’ framed by the Committee chaired by the Minister in-charge of Education Department in commitment to the aims and principles of the National Policy on Education, 1986 and its Programme of Action (POA) of 1992, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (the RTE Act) and the Draft Education Policy, 2016, had been approved by the Cabinet of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Government. On September 21, 2018, the Association further revealed that under Section 2(n) of the RTE Act, four categories of schools are defined, namely: A school established, owned or controlled by the appropriate Government or a local authority; An aided school receiving aid or grants to meet whole or part of its expenses from the appropriate Government or the local authority; A school belonging to a specified category; and An unaided school not receiving any kind of aid or grants to meet its expenses from the appropriate Government or the local authority.
The MSSASA added, “Under the provisions and principles of the Act, the SSA Schools in the State (Meghalaya) comprising 2,907 Lower Primary Schools and 2,232 Upper Primary Schools fall under the ‘Category II’ of Section 2 (n) of the Act. Therefore, by saying that “There is no policy of the State Government to classify SSA Schools” it is deemed a violation of the letter as well as the spirit of the said provisions of the Act by the State Government and the authority concerned.”
Expressing his concern on the issue, Rymbai said, “If the State government has no policy to streamline and classify the SSA Schools, it must come up with a clear picture about the plan and better options the State government is preparing for the SSA Schools in the State.”
“The Association has therefore requested the State government to re-examine the case and come up with rules and regulations for the implementation of the ‘Meghalaya State Education Policy, 2018 which will benefit all and not affect the sentiments of the teachers of the SSA schools in the State. The Association will soon meet the authority concerned for discussion on the agenda,” Rymbai added.
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