Arunachal Pradesh was recently conferred the ‘best performing state award in education sector in the small state category’ by the India Today Group, in recognition of ‘the efforts being made by the state government in the field of education.’
Education Minister Honchun Ngandam, along with Special Secretary, Education, Mitali Namchoom, received the award from Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, at the ‘India Today State of the States Conclave-2017’ organized by the India Today Group at New Delhi, on Thursday.
Back in Arunachal Pradesh, many people have raised their eyebrows at the award, given the poor show of the state’s education department down the years.
The government schools in Arunachal Pradesh have always been poor performers under the CBSE’s Guwahati zone, and their performance has not improved despite receiving regular instructions from the CBSE office.
The CBSE Guwahati never misses a chance to point fingers at Arunachal Pradesh for pulling down the pass percentage of the entire region, and rightly so.
Private schools, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas perform relatively better in the state; the government schools have the worst performance with the average pass percentage never crossing 70.
The education department officials in the state blame everything from geographical location to socio-economic backwardness for the low success rate.
In Arunachal, the majority of the students are first-generation learners. Since their parents have never been to school, there is no parental motivation for such students to do well in exams. This is another point the education department officials usually raise whenever they come under criticism for the poor show in the CBSE exams.
On the other hand, the education department itself is not new to charges of corruption during teacher recruitment and regularization. The department is also rife with cases of nepotism.
There is no proper school infrastructure; the supply of CBSE textbooks is scant; and cases of mismanagement of centrally-sponsored schemes such as midday meal abound.
On top of that, the teachers take to agitating every other week for early payment of pending salaries, job regularization, etc. The trend bespeaks the basic incapability of the education department.
Under such circumstances, the recent award was in fact a mockery of the award itself. The India Today Group should have conducted a field survey before honouring the department with such an award.