Adviser of School Education KT Sukhalu addressing the gathering on Friday Credit: Aneizo Keditsu

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Kohima: Amid a temporarily halt to the protest against the state government by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF), adviser of school education KT Sukhalu appealed the student bodies to reconsider the proposed agitation which is scheduled to resume by October 19.

Sukhalu said that Nagaland records an excess of teachers as there has been a sharp decline in the enrolment of students in government schools over the years. Currently, there are only around 1,69,548 students in the government schools, he said while addressing a felicitation programme for the Naga toppers of the HSLC & HSSLC organized by the NSF on Friday.

As the National average for one teacher is 32 students, Sukhalu said, “The actual requirement of teachers in our state comes down to only around 9000.There are more than 20,000 teachers [inclusive of SSA & RMSA]. So I have an excess of around 11,000 teachers.”

According to him, there is a general perception in the state that students in private schools are doing better which has led to an increase in enrolment in private school over the years.

Although government teachers are well qualified and trained, he said that the government teacher does not inspire parents and children, including their own children, to study in the government schools.

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Adviser of School education KT Sukhalu addressing the gathering on Friday

“We need to seriously ponder over this matter, either to close down schools that do not have any enrolment [in urban & rural areas] or merge schools that have very low enrolment. If the student enrolment continues to drop, how do we reduce the number of government teachers?,” the legislator questioned.

He therefore advised the NSF and ENSF to “focus more on the education and welfare of the students,” and ensure that the teachers are doing their job and not indulging in other activities by keeping their proxies.

The legislator also appealed all stake holders, particularly the NSF and ENSF to reconsider their proposed agitation which will resume on October 19. Although the state government has already agreed in principle to mainstream the SSA & RMSA teachers of 2010 & 2013 batches in October 2018, he said that it has not a “simple task of just signing a piece paper”.

“A massive exercise had to be undertaken by the department and is still continuing. It is a painstaking task and such things take time,” he said, further adding that the task was further delayed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

He assured that the government will continue to work to arrive at a “logical conclusion where justice would not be denied”.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge, Sukhalu said that it is “perhaps not the right time to be agitating” as there is a bigger and more urgent crisis to overcome. He added that due to the circumstances, the government “cannot give the time frame for implementing the proposal” and re-assured that the decision of the government will definitely be implemented.

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On the first day of the protest on October 12, the NSF and ENSF had temporarily called off the indefinite bandh on movement of government registered vehicles after the sudden demise of the minister for environment, forest and climate change, Justice and law CM Chang on Monday.

The protest was initiated against the government of Nagaland’s inaction in mainstreaming the SSA-RMSA teacher of 2010 and 2013 batches into the state education cadre.

As reported earlier, a total of 37 vehicles violating the bandh were seized by the volunteers of the two federations from all over the state of which 10 are from Dimapur, 11 are from Kohima, four each are from Wokha and Zunheboto, three are from Kiphire, two each are from Peren and Tuensang, and one is from Mon.

It had notified that the bandh will resume on October 19.

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