Raise entry age for college teachers
Through your esteemed daily, I would like to draw the attention of the Education Minister of Meghalaya, the officials in the Education Department and in the Directorate of Higher and Technical Education of the need to raise the age of entry for the post of Assistant Professor in government as well as in deficit colleges. At present the age limit prescribed by the state government for various teaching posts is identical whether at the primary school level or college level though these levels require different qualifications ranging from Class XII with two year Diploma on Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) for primary school teachers to Doctorate/Master’s degree with NET for college teachers.
A student can acquire qualifications required for primary school at the age of 20 years while he/she can acquire the qualifications for Assistant Professor in colleges at the minimum age of 23 years. If a candidate is a doctorate, the minimum age for completion of Ph.D. is about 29 years. A Ph.D. degree has become imperative for teachers at the college level both for their individual career advancement and for enhancement of the quality of higher education especially with the adoption of the National Education Policy 2020. A college served by many non Ph.D. faculties suffers a handicap for assessment and accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and such an institution suffers in terms of capability in carrying out research work on whatever little that can be done and required at the college level.
As per the present requirement of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi a teacher convening a seminar is required to possess Ph.D. degree to avail funding from the Council. In view of these realities, it would not be wrong to consider it illogical to put the minimum age for entry for the post of Assistant Professor at 18 years and the maximum age at 32 with a relaxation of another 5 years for SC/ST using the same criteria as primary school teachers. It is, therefore, prudent to enhance the minimum age for the post of Assistant Professor to 23 years and the upper age limit to 37 years with a relaxation of another 5 years for SC/ST candidates. It may be noted that the upper age limit for the post of Assistant Professor in states of Manipur and Assam is 38 years (5 years relaxable for SC/ST candidates) and in Arunachal Pradesh it is 37 years (5 years relaxable for SC/ST). In Nagaland the upper age limit for candidates possessing Ph.D. degree is 35 years (5 years relaxable for SC/ST candidates).
Again, it is worth noting that for the post of Medical and Health Officer which requires MBBS as an essential qualification, the age prescribed by the government of Meghalaya is 23 years as the minimum age and 41 years as the upper age limit with a relaxation of 5 years for SC/ST candidates.
Umiam bridge in danger!
Rising traffic congestion is an inescapable condition in Shillong at present. Commuters are often frustrated by the inability of policy makers to do anything about the problem, which poses a significant public policy challenge. Ever since the deterioration of the Dwar Ksuid bridge, heavy goods vehicles are entering or exiting the city at all hours of the day and night, although the order reads only from 9 pm to 6 am. Traffic jams are common when the snail pace heavy duty trucks move or develop snags and are parked on the main thoroughfares. What is more alarming is the decision to allow heavily loaded trucks to ply through the Umiam bridge which I believe has crossed it’s lifespan. A 60 year old bridge which in today’s term is meant for small vehicles to cross to Shillong and Ri Bhoi area is now being tortured and put under tremendous pressure by these highway kings. Traffic jams are also a common sight on this bridge with 35-40 light and heavy vehicles stuck on this bridge due to slow traffic though there is a signboard that reads, ‘only one loaded vehicle is allowed to cross the bridge at a time.’
Now let us be more practical. If a 7-year old Dwar Ksuid bridge built with modern technology and engineering cannot bear the brunt of these notorious trucks, how on earth are we expecting a more than 60 year old Umiam bridge which technically has crossed it’s expiry date to defend itself from the onslaught of these extra heavy trucks? God forbid if this bridge cracks and collapses then the people living downstream and also people commuting through the bridge are in grave danger and Shillong will be put out of gear and in total chaos, darkness and crisis. Interestingly both the District administration of East Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi are less concerned about this danger as it seems that this bridge is located in ‘no man’s land.’ It’s only a question of ‘When’ rather than ‘If’ this bridge can withstand the torture. The government has to immediately take note and act on this so that the city and its citizens are protected before it is too late.
Manuel Carey Lymba
Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
On the September 3, 2020 Persons with Disabilities and Special Educators had submitted a memorandum to the Government of Meghalaya through the Chief Secretary Mr MS Rao. This memorandum was signed by Persons with Disabilities, Teachers, Special Educators, Senior Citizens, Rangbah Dong and Rangbah Shnong. This memorandum was to highlight the problems that people in general face and mostly persons with disabilities with regards to mobility and accessibility. The memorandum was also to make the Government aware of the Rights to Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, which was passed by the Indian Parliament. However, we are really disappointed that even after six months the Government has done nothing to address these problems.
I have worked for over ten years for persons with disabilities and if there’s one thing I have learnt is that they are not disabled; it is their surroundings that have disabled them. Most persons with disabilities have jobs and also need to commute to work and back home, which some years back was possible but now not only is this commute challenging it is impossible and dangerous. The pavements and footpaths wherever they exist are not only in a deplorable condition but are also all occupied by vendors, hawkers, beggars and recently even serve as parking for two wheelers.
It is mind boggling as to how an NGO or NGOs have the authority to direct these vendors and hawkers and give them permission to sit and sell their wares claiming that it is their right to earn a livelihood. Yes, nobody can deny them that right but they cannot have their rights by taking away somebody else’s right.
A classic example is Laitumkhrah. It has many schools and colleges within its boundaries and also a municipal market, yet the footpaths are choc-a-bloc with vendors, hawkers and beggars. Even the Police Point bus and taxi stand is occupied by these people so where does one walk or get on and off public transport? Or are we all just going to shut up and like it or lump it?