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Morcha cell to monitor study – Education woes bind teacher & student bodies

Posted by Ramesh Khati on June 19, 2009

The meeting of the Education Monitoring Cell in progress in Darjeeling. Picture by Suman Tamang

The meeting of the Education Monitoring Cell in progress in Darjeeling. Picture by Suman Tamang

Darjeeling, June 18: Frontal organisations of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha have formed a monitoring cell to put in place a roadmap for improving education in the hills.

Members of the Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Association, Gorkha Primary Teachers’ Organisation and the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha today met at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club to deliberate on problems common to educational institutions in the hills.

“We have reasons to believe that the standard of education in the hills has come down in the past 21 years (GNLF’s tenure). The Left Front government has also remained indifferent to improving educational infrastructure in the hills. The cell (named Education Monitoring Cell) will meet again in Kalimpong on Saturday and we will chalk out our future roadmap,” said Tshering Tamang, the convener of the 17-member cell.

The meeting was attended by student leaders and teachers from Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik.

“In Mirik, we do not even have a higher secondary school that offers science and commerce. Can one believe this?” asked Keshav Raj Pokhral, the general secretary of the Vidyarthi Morcha.

“The infrastructure is so inadequate in the hill schools that institutions like Rama Krishna Siksha Parisad have 150 students in the only section of Class V. The authorities are unable to create a new section because of lack of classrooms,” said a teacher.

Representatives of almost every place aired one grievance or the other. “Kalimpong Government High School has only eight teachers against the sanctioned strength of 27. The science stream has been closed down,” said Tamang.

“At Darjeeling Government College, there had been an order to start a post-graduate course in geography in 2003. Till date, it has not yet started. The government had never bothered to introduce subjects like tea management and tourism in the hills,” said Kismat Chhetri, the president of the Vidyarthi Morcha.

The teachers also complained that no new school had been recognised of late. “There are no fulltime headmasters in most of the schools,” said another teacher.

The monitoring cell is also likely to take up with the government the issue of lack of adequate colleges in the hill areas. “In Siliguri subdivision there are as many as 11 colleges. Three of these colleges were started last year but in Kalimpong subdivision there are only two,” said Pokhral.

The Vidyarathi Morcha leaders said subjects like Bengali and Urdu were still in place in Darjeeling Government College despite there being no students for these streams. “We are not against continuing these courses but Nepali should also be introduced in all the colleges of Calcutta,” added Pokhral.

There was a comparison between the institutes in the plains and the hills. “In Jalpaiguri district, there are 47 Rabindra Mukta Vidyalaya (for Madhayamik dropouts) but in the DGHC area we have none. When we asked the authorities, we were told that since the books used in these Vidyalayas were only printed in Bengali the same could not be started for the hills,” alleged Tamang.

source: The Telegraph


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