Shortage of teachers dating back to 2012 Addressing education
The question is when ? Obviously this is not the time to ‘assure’ but to get down to the business of actually addressing the issue and the matter is not trivial for it concerns one fundamental pre-requisite of a Government that works. In Education Minister Thounaojam Basanta, Manipur has a well educated, young person and the intent of the young man occupying the helm of affairs in the Education sector seems to be clear and that is to address the shortfalls in the education system. For starters the State Government need to extend the needed co-operation to the Education Minister to fill up the vacant posts of teachers on a priority basis. This is about education and shortage of teachers runs contrary to the much tom tommed School Fagathanshi campaign of the State Government. The BJP led Government is already into its second successive term in office and the question is, what did it do in the first five years in office to address the shortage of teachers ? Mind you, the shortage of 7000 school teachers is not a development that came in a day or two or even in two/three months but has been piling up each year, if the admission of the Education Minister is anything to go by. 600 teachers retire each year and this is what has been going on since 2012 obviously with no replacements. Why was this situation allowed to drag on for ten long years ? Is it due to financial constraints ? If so then the State Government need to sit back and study how the loopholes can be plugged. Is it a question of the Education Department and the Finance Ministry not seeing eye to eye on how many teachers it can afford to have on its payroll ? If this is the case then why are some areas so woefully short of schools ? All these are questions that need to be addressed to on a priority basis if the concept of governance is to have any substantial meaning. Thounaojam Basanta is a new man on the block and perhaps in naming him the Education Minister, nothing should be held back to let him function to his potential but making the young man face the issue of acute shortage of teachers in his first stint as a Minister may not exactly amount to delivering justice to his potential. The Government should buck up and come to the realisation that governance is not only about ensuring a bandh and blockade free Manipur but about delivering the basics of life such as taking education to the doorstep of each and every youngster.
So what are the efforts that have been taken up to address the shortage of teachers, the root of which can be traced to 2012, as the Education Minister himself admitted. The question is why were visible and concrete steps not taken up during the first term of the BJP led Government in Manipur ? Only those at the helm of affairs will be in a position to answer this, but this is a question which any concerned citizen of the land is bound to raise. Education is the backbone of any society and this is the only means to climb out of the morass of poverty and be counted as productive members of society. Shortage of teachers and that too by about 7000 could obviously be one primary reason why Government schools do not have much takers among parents and guardians who place a premium on educating their children and ward. How many of the suited, booted section of society send their children to Government schools ? This question should go beyond just the answer for it is a pointer to the state of affairs in Government run schools. And this should say a lot. The time to act is late, but it is good to see and read the Education Minister himself acknowledging the shortage of teachers and that efforts are underway to address this problem. Shortage of teachers is indeed a problem, especially for the young students and parents who do not have the means to send their children to private schools and it is disappointing to see that this problem has been allowed to fester for ten years, that is from 2012. Fill up the vacant posts of teachers, for this is about the education of young children and not addressing this would amount to jeopardising their future.