Sunday, July 14, 2024

NPP-BJP friction heats up in GH over education min’s performance


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Rakkam should let ADCs adopt schools for better upkeep, says Bernard

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 28: The rift between the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is intensifying in the Garo Hills region with the latter coming down heavily on Education Minister and NPP leader Rakkam A Sangma for poor maintenance of primary schools in the region, and accusing him of making grandiose statements instead of addressing the issues.
It may be noted that the criticism comes just days after the Meghalaya State Education Commission (MSEC) paid a visit to Garo Hills to identify and address the issues in the education sector of the region.
Even the education minister recently partook in a high-level consultative meeting of MSEC and conferred about various challenges faced in the education system in the Garo Hills region. He had also asserted that education is one of the most important factors to usher in overall development in the state.
However, the NPP leader’s assertion invited brickbats and not bouquets from its ally, BJP, with the party vice president Bernard Marak maintaining that Rakkam was unable to manage the situation himself.
Casting aspersions on Rakkam for asking the MLAs to adopt schools to improve their conditions, Bernard, who is also a GHADC MDC, said, “If he is not able to maintain it and has to ask MLAs to maintain it, just hand it over to the district council. We will ensure the primary schools get proper infrastructure and surpass public schools.”
Bernard then emphasised that primary education is the responsibility of the district councils and urged Rakkam to transfer the schools to the council’s care. “I would request Rakkam Sangma to hand over all primary schools to the district council because it is originally the duty of the district councils to look after the primary schools,” he said.
“I suggest that the schools be handed over to the district council, and we will ensure that all primary schools are upgraded to the level of private schools, which are performing much better compared to government schools,” he added.
Recalling his visits to various blocks, Rakkam highlighted the dire conditions of many schools.
He said he had seen so many schools where the villages reportedly showed him pathetic conditions. “Some schools have no students, some have no teachers, and in some, students and teachers are present but lack basics such as doors, blackboards, or even proper ceilings,” he said.
Rakkam pointed out that the poor state of primary schools undermines the foundation of education and criticised the state government for failing to enhance primary education after taking control from the district council.
Bernard argued that adopting one school would not make a significant difference. “Despite being treated like an opposition and having my business and schemes stopped, my service to the people continues. There are schools I have started and some I sponsor, but I won’t name them,” he said.
He concluded by stressing the importance of a good environment in schools. “Schools are a second home for students and should have a good environment, but many are in a shabby condition. As an MDC with no income, I am still helping poor schools. Rakkam should stop making big statements,” Bernard added.


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