Two years ago, the government of Arunachal Pradesh has dedicated 2021 as the Year of Education with a planned investment of Rs. 1000 crore for the sector. Moreover, CM Khandu told the assembly that his government will launch ‘Mission Shiksha’ to improve the standard of education in next two years. And after two years, Arunachal Pradesh bagged 2nd lowest rank in literacy; the data was released by ministry of education in the month of March. An irony, isn’t it?
UNESCO has simply defined literacy rate as the percentage of the population of given age group that can read and write. Meaning Arunachal Pradesh as of today has the 2nd highest population in India that cannot read and write. What can be the possible causes of such repercussion? A question that has been haunting all of us ever since the data was released by ministry of education.
Some of the possible causes that can be the contributories of such repercussion; firstly, adult education, without educating the old-aged, desired literacy rate is a distant dream. Secondly, lack of motivation for the teachers as well as students especially in border and interior areas. A research scholar who wants to remain anonymous has narrated that the researcher had to walk for 9-10 hours by foot amidst deep forest and waterfalls to reach a school located at certain interior village. Such interior areas are devoid of network connectivity, electricity connectivity and transportation facilities. Such factors are the reason why teachers dread to be posted at interior areas and such conditions lead to lack of professionalism (teacher absenteeism) and not only affect the teachers but also de-motivate the students to come to schools. Thirdly, serious need of professionalism among primary teachers (PRT); A teacher, who wants to remain anonymous, currently posted in an interior area has stated that many of the students in class 8 & 9 can’t even write their own name correctly (reiterated by a scholar), and this is because most of the current PRTs are out-dated and their teaching approaches are not effective anymore as elementary stage are the foundational phase of any child. Fourthly, poverty; a local boy (Yomge, name change) of age 11 was cleaning car at a car-wash, when asked for how many hours you remain here? He smiled and said from morning till evening sometimes even night. There are many such Yomge who quit their education and are shouldering the responsibility of the family.
In matter of population we are not that huge compare to other state of India. Challenges like improving the literacy rate, uplifting the people living in poverty, providing good infrastructures and roads in remote areas etc. is not a complex assignment. But even if the literacy rate is improved can we guarantee our educated youth of employment. A classic example is of Kenjom (name change) who had to quit PhD (Physics Department in RGU) for the post of “peon” appointed through APSSB.
M.Ed 4th Semester
Hills College of Teacher Education, Lekhi