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New Dawn wants impartial agency to assess education sector

Organisation recommends changes for better performance

Shillong, June 13: New Dawn, a newly formed organisation, has suggested that the state government appoint an “impartial independent professional agency” comprising experts to review the education scenario in Meghalaya.

The organisation wrote to the Education Department on Sunday, days after a central report ranked the state among the worst performers in education parameters.

While acknowledging the department for allocation of Rs 100 crore, New Dawn, a political front, said “society needs more initiative than simply cash infusion” and the many factors must be identified and rectified. It has laid down a few recommendations for the government to improve the education sector.

Emphasising the need for equipping government schools, New Dawn said 60% weightage should be given to these schools and only 10% should be given to private schools.

In the central report, Meghalaya has scored 70% in the domain of learning outcome and quality. Some of the indicators evaluated were mathematics, language, social science and science scores.

“These are all absolutely crucial for any child’s future but every year we have an overwhelming number of children who opt for Arts at the 10 + 2 level. This is a clear indication that Science and Math are not being prioritised at early stages of development and/or that we have a severe deficit of capable teachers in either,” it said, adding that this trend needed to be checked.

Pointing at the high dropout rate in the state, New Dawn said this can be rectified “only if parents and society in general have renewed faith in the schooling and higher education system”.

It suggested increasing financial support to public outreach programmes in the wake of the ongoing Covid 19 crisis.

Poor infrastructure and lack of modern education system, especially in rural areas, have also become a cause for concern and New Dawn asserted that “investment in people, and not products, must be the department’s new mantra”.

“What value does a building have if the teachers inside have no facilities nor access to facilities? What good is a new building if teachers go unpaid for months,” it added.

In the domain of equity, New Dawn suggested improvement by incentivising rural children, especially girls, who have been performing better than boys in state board examinations.

Among other recommendations of New Dawn are “yearly teacher evaluations which must seek inputs from students and their parents”, allow parental participation in school management committees as mentioned in RTE and “swift and timely payment of salaries” to teachers.

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