Arunachal to mark schools as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’

Tough geography, lack of infrastructure and accessibility issues keep teachers away from schools

December 22, 2019 09:46 pm | Updated 09:46 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Arunachal Pradesh will soon have schools marked ‘hard’, ‘soft’ and ‘medium’. Geography, lack of infrastructure and reluctance of teachers to work beyond their comfort zones are the reasons for this categorisation, officials said.

Teacher absenteeism has been a major issue across 3,513 government schools, including 211 community schools, in the State. The student-teacher ratio has consequently been skewed in favour of urban centres with better connectivity.

A government spokesperson said that under the new policy, all government schools will be divided into three categories — hard, medium and soft — based on topography, accessibility and degrees of difficulty in staying at the place of posting. “All new recruits will be given a hard posting for a mandatory three years, inclusive of their probation period. The next five years will be in schools with levels of medium difficulty, followed by posting in soft schools,” the spokesperson said.

The Education Department has been facing difficulties in posting 16,594 regular teachers in remote areas where schools have adequate students, but hardly anyone to teach them.

Last week, a meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, approved the Arunachal Pradesh Teachers’ Transfer & Posting Policy, 2020, for ensuring “need-based distribution of teachers to protect the academic interest of students and optimise job satisfaction among the teachers in a free and transparent manner.” The policy also entails transfer of teachers in through online requests.

“We are taking steps to revitalise the sector through a policy that will ensure each school, no matter how remotely situated, has adequate teachers,” Mr. Khandu said.

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