Congress stages walkout over deficiencies in education system in Himachal

Shimla: With education minister ID Dhiman failing to satisfy congress members about steps taken to make qualitative changes in the education system, in a discussion over a private member resolution moved by Thakur Kaul Singh in the assembly today, opposition legislators staged a walk out over the issue.

Replying to a two and half hour discussion, the minister said that opening up hundreds of new schools just before elections without there being any budgetary provisions or providing requisite infrastructure was primarily responsible for falling standards in government school education.

On shortage of staff, he said that not making timely recruitments over the last four years had piled up a huge backlog of vacancies, which were now be filled.

It still was a challenge for the government to fill up vacancies in many rural and backward areas, he said, which was hindering efforts to make qualitative improvement in education.

The government was considering starting an accreditation system whereby teachers who were able to consistently obtain good results would be rated.

And for those who were unable to show good performance over a three year period, stopping of increments was under consideration, said Dhiman.

Computer education was being encouraged and an opposition members suggestion about handing over the mid-day meal scheme to Panchayati Raj institutions for management, which would spare a teacher would be actively considered.

The minister said that cheating and copying in examinations conducted was being controlled by maintaining a strict vigil.

He claimed that the state had surpassed Kerala in primary education and said that against a country average of 12 % students passing out from school taking up college education, in Himachal as many as 20 % students did go to college.

The government was doing what it can to make the state into a knowledge and education hub, he said.

When requested to withdraw the private member bill, an agitated Kaul Singh responded with saying that the minister was misleading the house.

He said at one end did acknowledge that many vacancies existed in schools, at the other end PTA teachers who were doing a yeoman’s job were being victimised and sacked, on political considerations.

Leading the walkout, Kaul Singh also contended that the minister had not responded to what measures the government was taking to fill up vacancies and improve educational infrastructure in backward areas, which had been neglected.

With the congress members resorting to slogan shouting in the opposition lounge, JP Nadda parliamentary affairs minister took the floor and said that the opposition was not serious about making a contribution for improving the quality of education was indulging in petty politicking.

Reacting to the walkout, Suresh Bhardwaj (BJP) said that it was un-parliamentary to walk out over a private members bill, and if the member did not withdraw the resolution, it could only have been put to vote.

With the opposition absent, Speaker Tulsi Ram then put the resolution to votes and the nays of the treasury benches defeated it comprehensively.

Earlier in the discussion that ensued Harwardhan Chauhan and Kuldeep Singh Pathania, (both congress) pointed out the problems in government educational systems that was providing deficient service in difficult areas of Sirmaur and Chamba.

Participating in the debate, Randhir Sharma (BJP) after mentioning that in many schools a zero percent result was reported asked for performance based assessment of teachers.

Urmila Thakur (BJP), said that many of the curriculums were fast losing their appeal among children and giving importance to computer education would help to retain the students interests in modern education.

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