Arunachal: 400 govt schools having zero attendance shut down

Guwahati: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu stated on Wednesday that the state’s focus is not on establishing more schools but rather on enhancing the quality of education within the existing institutions, and the government is committed to providing all necessary support in this regard.

CM Khandu attributed the lack of adequate infrastructure and manpower in numerous schools within the state to what he described as the “politics of appeasement”. He emphasised that his administration prioritises the quality of initiatives and projects over political appeasement.

Khandu was speaking at the Platinum Jubilee celebration event of Government Secondary School, Balek, in Arunachal Pradesh, which was declared a ‘Heritage School’.

“We have taken education very seriously. In fact, we have shut down about 400 government schools with zero attendance,” the chief minister said. He further said, “The process is still ongoing. We don’t need more schools; we need quality education from the existing schools, for which the government is extending all support.”

He, however, emphasised quality rather than quantity.

“We have focused more on establishing school after school without keeping an eye on the quality of education being imparted in these schools,” he pointed out.

He announced that all government schools in the state established before Independence will be declared as ‘Heritage Schools’ and given special attention for infrastructure development, along with a museum within the premises.

This came in response to a request by the organisers of the Platinum Jubilee celebration.

Established as a Lower Primary school in 1946, the Government Secondary School, Balek, is celebrating its Platinum Jubilee, which was declared open by the chief minister today.

“This is one of the best requests that I have come across. Not only this school, but all pre-Independence government schools in the state will be declared as Heritage Schools with a museum showcasing their rich history,” he said.

To another request, Khandu directed the Deputy Director of School Education (DDSE) of East Siang to submit a formal proposal to the government to expedite the process of upgrading the school to a higher secondary school.

“This is a historic occasion. The school’s journey of 75 years is a significant milestone given the fact that Arunachal Pradesh was born as a union territory in 1972 and became a full-fledged state only in 1987,” Khandu observed.

Hailing the school for producing many luminaries in its 75-year journey, he paid rich tributes to those who have passed away and congratulated those who are serving in various capacities and those who have retired.

Khandu said that from 3-4 schools established before Independence, Arunachal Pradesh today has more than 3,000 government schools across the state.

He informed that he has already given directions to the Education department for mapping all government-run schools in the state so that the government can keep track of each school.

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Reiterating the importance of School Management Committees (SMC) in the proper functioning and development of schools, he advised the SMC members of every school in the state to regularly visit and interact with teachers, students, and parents, and then submit reports to concerned DDSEs for the fulfillment of any requirements.

Referring to the 3-day Platinum Jubilee celebration, Khandu urged the alumni of the school to raise the topic of quality education in their discussions.

“Alumni of this school, who have gathered here for the 3-day celebration, are well-educated and knowledgeable persons with vast experiences. Please discuss how we can improve the quality of education in government schools and pass on your suggestions to the government,” he appealed.

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