It is a sad state of affairs, indeed, to witness the fall of our alma mater, Pine Mount School. Once a great School that churned out highly efficient people that now serve their States and Country in many capacities, it is criminal to watch its decline under mismanagement and inefficiency. The fight to place a better administration in the school is not a new one. In truth, the Alumnae has been battling to bring accountability and transparency in the administration of the school for some time now.
Following a series of complaints, the Pine Mount School Alumnae Association conducted a casual visit of the school in 2019. After this disheartening inspection, the Association came out with an Observation highlighting all the concerns that plagued the School. Few past-pupils from the Alumnae association, in fact, had met up with the Chief Minister to air out their grievances. With some assurance to form an inquiry into the matter, the Alumnae were content to watch the outcome of the inquiry.
Two inquiries were made. One by the Child Rights Commission and one by the Department. Many employees of the school were interviewed and questioned. It would seem like a solution was in the horizon. However, the report never saw the light of day. Whether it was due to the pandemic or some delay by the higher ups, the next course of action was never made public. All the while, the school kept declining under the watch of the present incompetent Principal. The students became the worst sufferers.
A rubber band stretched too far will snap. It is not surprising that the teachers of the school have come to a breaking point. Only the efforts of the teachers and concerned parents have kept the school afloat thus far. It is uplifting to see the parents and the students all come out in support of the teachers in their warranted fight for justice. The Pine Mount School Alumnae Association fully stand in solidarity with the teachers as they struggle to bring back Pine Mount from its debilitated state and restore it to its former glory.
The Government stands to lose the most as Pine Mount School was one of the best public schools that was a great pride to our State. Our Alumnae Association have people from across the country and all over the world. It pains us to give them such bad tidings about their beloved school. This time the Government should be serious about meeting the demands of the teachers. No more delaying tactics, no more inquiry that will result in nothing, no more reports getting lost in the desk of some officials. We demand that the inquiry team, formed by the Government investigate all charges of negligence, lack of financial accountability, mismanagement and lack of transparency in the admission process, be duly investigated. This time we want concrete actions not false promises.
We will fight and lend our support to the Teachers till the battle is won.
The Pine Mount School Alumnae Association
The sordid Pine Mount School affairs
A question looms large in the minds of every citizen of Meghalaya today and the question is “Why does everything seem to be falling apart at the seams in our state?”. Collapsing structures, pot holed unrepaired roads, murderers and desperadoes escaping from jail and running wild and free all over the place, where does our fall from grace stop? Now in the midst of all this, the apparent collapse of a premier educational institution of the State! Yes I am talking about the sad state of affairs in Pine Mount Girls School, which is unfolding right before our eyes and no one seems to be doing anything about it. I hear the cry of protest from the Government that an enquiry committee has been set up. Let me be as candid and brutal as I can for the situation demands it. We have seen enquiry committees by the hundreds. They come and go. They are simply delaying tactics so beloved of the ‘Babudom’ to delay things especially issues where the babu has failed and needs a cover up. So, to Hell with the Enquiry Committee. It simply means nothing except as a delaying cover up tactic.
The demand from the teachers is for the immediate removal of the Principal. I won’t even touch upon that aspect. Principals come and principals go and it is of least interest to me as a worried citizen. Let the claptrap enquiry deal with it. My interest however is on the health, welfare and general continued well-being of this premier educational institution in the midst of our city. It has produced luminaries that have done the state, the community and Shillong city proud. It has a reputation of being one of the most coveted girls school in the North East. It is an educational institution that has taken more than 100 years to perfect. Seeing the images and pictures captured on social media on the condition and state of Pine Mount School infrastructure, one comes away with the shocked conviction that the honorable Government and those mandated with the school’s upkeep are more or less satisfied to retain the school as a relic of the past rather than as a modern well-equipped portal of learning. Poorly maintained class rooms, inadequate teaching aids and equipment, science laboratories apparently dating back to the 20th century, rotting wall beams, leaking roofs, (God only knows the quality of water provided to the children), filthy and obviously stinking toilets, muddy playgrounds – the bloody Government and the Directorate of Education should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for letting things come to such a pass.
I have a simple request to make and it is to the Minister of Education. Sir, please spare 10 minutes of your time to make an, “on the spot surprise inspection,” of the school and its infrastructure. Why not do that one day on your way to office. Don’t tell your staff; don’t allow that usual fussing crowd of babus and officials to accompany you; don’t let anyone know you are coming. Go and see for yourself what the teachers, the parents and most importantly the innocent students have to endure daily because of lack of proper amenities. Don’t allow anyone to speak to you about the Principal. Let the enquiry committee deal with that. We don’t want people accusing you of interfering with the enquiry. What we want is for you to see for yourself the pathetic condition of what we still describe as a Premier Government Girls School of Meghalaya. If you are then satisfied of the need for immediate action, please pass the order for immediate repairs to be carried out. I know it can be done from the contingency funds of the Government. Don’t wait for lengthy advertisements for contractors or for delayed enquiry reports on urgent issues that impinge upon the health , both physical and mental, of these innocent children. Do it now! Oh and just to remind ourselves, the teachers, parents and students in this case, to my mind, are simply messengers carrying a message of despair and genuine anguish over the apparent caving in of the institution they all love. Please don’t shoot the messengers!
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