New Education Policy to be a game-changer: Arunachal CM

Itanagar: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Sunday said that the Arunachal Pradesh government will focus on “four thrust areas” under the New Education Policy (NEP) to shape the future scope and dynamics of the state’s education scenario.

The thrust areas, the chief minister said are, Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), e-Governance and Digital Education, and Vocational and Teachers’ Education.

Addressing a function to celebrate Teacher’s Day at the state banquet hall here, Khandu said the NEP introduced by the present government at the Centre is one of the biggest reforms ever in the education sector.

The chief minister said the state government is all set to achieve the vision of 10 years as proposed in the policy for which two State Task Forces have been constituted and several rounds of consultations have already been held by them.

“We have recently launched ‘Mission Shiksa’ with an aim to provide good quality education to the students in an improved educational environment and uplifting the morale of teachers. We have also declared 2021 as the Year of Education and will invest sufficiently through convergence to overhaul our education system,” Khandu informed.

Despite being a late starter in terms of education – Arunachal had only 3 primary schools at the time of Independence. At present the state boasts of about 4000 schools.

The chief minister, however, lamented that the quality of education instead of growing has degraded in these years.

“We as a state have certainly faltered somewhere. We grew from 3 primary schools to 4000 schools. The number of teachers also increased manifold but we are still struggling to improve our quality of education. So many drawbacks and complaints still continue to haunt the system,” Khandu said.

He blamed the lack of a robust ‘transfer and posting policy’ of the government on poor quality of education in most of the government-run schools.

“On records we have a sufficient number of teachers but still so many schools across the state report shortage of teachers. This has to be resolved. Our education department is working on it and soon transfer and posting will be digitally and transparently rationalized which will be available on the department’s web portal,” Khandu said.

He also said political interference or influence in transfer and posting, particularly in health and education will not be allowed.

Khandu expressed that at the start certain reforms do hurt certain sections of people but, he claimed, in the long run results will be sweet and gave the example of the State Staff Selection Board.

“Earlier, the job-for-vote culture was prevalent. To stop it, we established the Staff Selection Board. At the beginning it did hurt some people including a few politicians, their supporters and people looking for government jobs in return for votes and cash. But today, the scenario is different. Everybody knows that to get a job you need to go through the board exams. Today people are actually working hard and only eligible people are getting government jobs,” he explained.

Likewise, Khandu said that reforms in the education sector may hurt a few and appealed to the teachers to face it for the larger interest of the students, who are the future of the state.

He, though, assured that extremely genuine cases will be considered by the government whenever it arises.

As schools are reopening after a long time due to the pandemic, he said the teachers have more work to do with their students.

“You have the added burden to rekindle the interest to learn in students, who might have got distracted due to the pandemic. Future of our students depends upon you more so in the post-pandemic period,” the chief minister observed.

Raising the issue of drug abuse, Khandu called upon the teachers to join the fight against the menace.

He said the government is determined to eradicate social evil and sought cooperation from teachers to spread awareness and educate students on the ill effects of drug abuse.

On the occasion, 40 teachers from across the state were conferred with the ‘State Teachers Award 2021’ for their service to the state.

Among others, education minister Taba Tedir also attended the function.

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