Developed By: iNFOTYKE
By ED Nongsiang
Meghalaya is the only State in the Country where schools are being classified into many categories with different pay structures and no uniform service rules.
The prevalent systems or categories are :
Pre-Primary Ad-hoc System ( State Adopted Operation Black Board Schemes).
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Schemes (SSA) from Primary to Upper Primary levels.
- Ad-hoc System from Lower Primary to Higher Secondary level.
- Improved System in the Upper Primary level.
- Deficit/ Non Government at the Primary level.
- Deficit Pattern in the Upper Primary and Secondary level.
- Deficit System in the Upper Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary levels.
- Government Schools.
The categorisation of schools must have been done for political convenience. As the Government was not willing to establish sufficient government schools or include more schools in the deficit systems, the political leaders in order to please the sponsoring bodies who often have strong influence on the electorate, introduced the other systems of schools which resulted in unequal pay for equal work.
Most of these schools receive financial support from the government in the form of grant-in-aid. The grant-in-aid varies from ₹ 3500/- per month to ₹ 12000/- per month per teacher, that too if there is no percentage cut by the management although these teachers put in the same workload and same work hours with those in the deficit system or government schools. Unlike their counterparts in government schools, the Deficit school teachers are not entitled to certain benefits such as medical re-imbursement, pensionary benefits etc.
There are 4770 government aided schools from Pre-Primary to Higher Secondary level. And the number of teachers in these government aided schools in the State is 14473.Many of these government aided school do not strictly adhere to the State Adopted Amended Assam Aided High and Higher Secondary School Employees Rules 1965 which is obsolete, irrelevant and non inclusive, or the Meghalaya aided Higher, Secondary and Upper Primary Management rules 1997.
Some of the religious bodies running minority Government aided schools frame their own service rules, rules of conduct and discipline which are not uniform and in some cases do not conform to Government policy and regulations.
In order to bring uniformity in service rules, rules of conduct and discipline, Management rules, Pay structures, administration and most of all to provide SOCIAL SECURITY to the teachers, the State government should PROVINCIALISE the services of teachers and non teaching staff in all government aided schools from Pre-Primary to higher secondary level in the State.
If the services of teachers in government aided schools are provincialised then there would be only 3 categories of schools in the State.
- Government schools.
- Government aided or Provincialised schools.
- Self financing or Private schools.
SSA Schools should also be regularised.
In the provincialised schools, the Management/ Sponsoring body shall own the infrastructures movable and immovable properties of the school. The administration or management of affairs and control of all teaching and non teaching staff shall vest in the Managing Committees. Managements may also frame sub rules as per requirements in conformity with the government policy and regulations. Recruitment, appointment of teaching and non teaching staff will also vest on the Management with a department representative in the selection Board for teaching staff to ensure transparency. The Managing Committees shall also exercise such functions as may be specified by the State government from time to time.
The State government should make rules to provide for the service conditions of the teachers such as :
- a) Rules of conduct and discipline.
- b) Leave rules.
- c) Age of retirement/ superannuation.
- d) Guidelines for recruitment and appointment of teachers.
And any other matter relating to the conditions of services of teachers.
The State government should also make rules for Managements or should re-visit the Meghalaya Aided Higher Secondary, Secondary and Upper Primary Schools Management Rules 1997. All teachers and non teaching staff of provincialised schools should get such emoluments as salary and allowances, pensionary benefits at par with their corresponding teachers and non teaching staff in government schools.
The teachers in government aided schools of the state under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee of All Teachers Associations of Meghalaya (JACATAM ) have made several representations and submitted Memoranda to the government more than three years now.
Under the direction from the Chief Minister, JACATAM met the Chief Secretary and other top officials of the Department on 30th September 2013, where it was agreed that the State Government would depute officials from the Department to make a comparative study on systems followed by other states in the country on Education.
The Directorate of School Education and Literacy submitted the report on the findings under the caption : Status of Action taken Report on the demands of teachers ( JACATAM ) on 16th June 2014. It also prepared a detailed project report and proposal to be implemented based on the Tamil Nadu Model which is in line with the demand of JACATAM and submitted it to the State Government on the 29th February 2016.
If State Governments in other parts of our country with much more number of schools and teachers can give priority to Education and have done away with many categories of Schools and provided social security and rightful status to teachers it is high time for our State Government to follow suit. What is needed is political will of the leaders of our State to make a bold decision so that standards of Education will improve and teaching will become the most attractive and desired profession in the society.
(The writer is Chairman, JACATAM)