Itanagar: Underlining the importance of quality education, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday called upon the state’s education department to focus on restructuring the functioning of government schools.

“The teachers of government schools are highly paid compared to those teaching in NGO-run ones, but the difference in the quality of education between these schools is stark. We are producing certificate holders but not people with real knowledge,” Khandu said while reiterating his concern for the poor quality of education in government-run schools.

The chief minister was addressing an event that followed the signing of MoUs between the Arunachal Pradesh government and NGOs to run three Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in the state.

These three new schools at Nyapin in Kurung Kumey district, Khela in Tirap and at Tirbin in Leparada district would start functioning from the next academic session.

The MoUs were signed between the Arunachal Pradesh Eklavya Model Residential School Society (APEMRSS) and NGOs – Gyamar Art and Cultural Society to run the Nyapin School, Arunachal Shiksha Vikas Samiti to run the Khela School and VKV Arunachal Trust to run the EMRS at Tirbin.

Appreciating the NGOs for coming forward to run the schools, Khandu said it is tough to run residential schools, especially for the government, therefore it is much appreciated that experienced NGOs volunteer to run such schools to provide quality education to rural children.

EMRS is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, along with the state government through the department of Social Justice & Empowerment and Tribal Affairs to ensure all tribal students get access to quality education in remote tribal areas. It is a premium co-educational institute for classes from 6 to 12.

Khandu said the EMRS model has been a successful one across the country in areas populated by tribals but regretted that in all these years Arunachal Pradesh could establish only two such schools – one at Bana in East Kameng, which is run by VKV Trust, and the other at Lumla in Tawang run by Art of Living.

The chief minister also suggested that wherever possible and feasible, old or defunct government schools needed to be converged with schemes like EMRS and handed over to reputed NGOs to run.

“We are late but not too late to avail the benefits of the scheme. With the three schools beginning from this session, we will have five EMRS running. Five more are coming up in a few more districts, which are in different stages of establishment,” he said.

Khandu informed that two EMRS – one at Medo in Lohit and the other at Dambuk in Lower Dibang Valley – are under construction and will be ready by March 2022, while the process for land identification and acquisition are on for the establishment of EMRS at Aalo (West Siang), Seppa (East Kameng) and Itanagar (Papum Pare).

Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs provides 100% of funds for the establishment of EMRS. As per the new pattern of funding, Rs 24 crore will be released for the construction of each EMRS. However, suitable and sufficient land (15 acres minimum) will have to be provided by the state government free of cost.

The MoU signing ceremony was also attended by SJETA minister Alo Libang, advisor to Libang and Hayuliang MLA Dasanglu Pul and education commissioner Niharika Rai.

Also read: Centre approves seven Eklavya residential schools for Arunachal Pradesh

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