SHILLONG: Aristotle C Rymbai, the president of the central body of the Meghalaya SSA School Association (MSSASA), has said that the education system will be able to deliver quality education only when the government starts taking care of teachers.
“In Meghalaya, the 12,541 elementary teachers recruited under the budget head of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and teaching in 2,907 Lower Primary Schools and 2232 Upper Primary Schools across the State are being deprived and neglected of their rights and benefits as notified in the RTE Act 2009,” he said. Rymbai, while expressing his concern on the agenda said, as the State government in the recently concluded Assembly Budget Session 2019-20 put education as a top priority with the aims to provide quality and improve the standards of education to the children of the State and to take education to the next level, I do hope the State government will ensure that the teachers who are entrusted with the task of delivering quality education are also taken care of.
“Time and again, the SSA teachers are being forced to come out to the streets every four to five months due to irregular payment of salary,” he said.
He informed that the 12,541 teachers working in the SSA-supported schools across the State — both in the rural as well as the urban areas — have been recruited and appointed as contractual teachers since the beginning of implementation of the SSA flagship programme instead of they being recruited as permanent ones which is against the framework and guidelines of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
“Though the Government of India has clear cut norms under SSA and RMSA wherein States and Union Territories are given financial support for the salary of teachers with the condition that these posts of teachers shall be created in the States and the Union Territories by the respective education departments on a regular basis with the same salary and service conditions as of State budget teachers,” he said.
Adding, “But in Meghalaya it has been found that the State government has committed a mistake since the beginning of implementation of the SSA flagship programme and allowed the creation of these posts under the State Implementation Society known as the State Education Mission Authority Meghalaya (SEMAM) on contractual basis instead of appointing the teachers under the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSE&L), Government of Meghalaya, on a regular basis for whom different service arrangement have been spelt out and the appointed 12,541 SSA teachers were posted only in the SSA supported schools across the State.”
Stating that promising career prospects, which is quite a motivation booster, is almost nil for the SSA teachers, Tymbai said, “In Meghalaya, the SSA teachers are not entitled to any leave and others benefits as enjoyed by the regular teachers except the provision of 15 days Casual Leave annually but in terms of school hours, workload, election duties, census-and-disaster-related tasks it is the same for both the SSA teachers and the State Budget teachers.”
According to him, to achieve the goal of quality education, teachers play a vital role and as such the teachers are the most important educational resources. As a critical determinant of quality education, the teachers must be treated as respected professionals. Teaching must provide an attractive career choice, and must remain sufficiently attractive, in terms of salaries and service conditions in order to retain the best teachers in the service.
“Teachers need to be supported in fulfilling their responsibilities to students, and their voices must be listened to by school leaders, government, education systems and public authorities,” he pointed out.
He further said that as teachers are at the heart of our education system and the success of any effort to improve the quality of education is solely dependent on teachers, therefore teachers’ requirements and problems need to be taken care of and addressed at the earliest.
“Our education system will be able to deliver good education only when the government starts taking care of the teachers,” adding that “partial implementation of rules and regulations or implementation that does not reflect the spirit of quality education defeats the entire purpose of it.”
Also read: Meghalaya news