Other States

Proxy teachers continue to trouble Nagaland

The issue of proxy teachers has returned to haunt Nagaland after almost three years. On July 5, Nagaland’s Directorate of School Education issued show-cause notices to two teachers of Government High School, Sanis in Wokha district, for using proxies to carry out their duties.

“…it is reported that you have been engaging a proxy against your post and not performing your bona fide duties at the school,” the notice to graduate teachers S. Renthunglo Ezung and Areni Shitiri read.

The notice issued by Thavaseelan K., the directorate’s principal director, said their negligence led to the “production of nil result of your school” in the High School Leaving Certificate exam, 2022. Both were asked to report to the directorate in Kohima by August 17.  

The show-cause notices were reminiscent of an exercise Nagaland had undertaken in November 2019 to cleanse the education system of proxy teachers “appointed” by regular employees in order to avoid working out of their comfort zones.

Education officials had then hoped the crackdown on 399 such teachers across the State would send a message to other teachers who have been guilty of similar unethical practices. These teachers were asked to take selfies with the school building in the background every day as proof of their attendance.

The Kiphire incident made the State government decided to prepare a database of schools, teachers and non-teaching staff. However, the COVID-19 outbreak affected the plan.

“We don’t have a database (on the number of regular teachers and how many of them employ proxies) as such. It is an ongoing process,” Mr. Thavaseelan told The Hindu.

“We are coming up with the Teacher Attendance Monitoring System to deal with the proxy teacher problem,” he said.

Investigations by NGOs in the past revealed the regular teachers usually pay their proxies a fraction of their salaries while staying put at home in urban centres or villages in a different district and pursuing business or other vocations. The proxies teach in the name of the regulars.

Lack of teachers

Apart from proxies, many schools in Nagaland suffer from lack of teachers. One such school in Phek, the headquarters of Phek district, was closed down by a local youth body after the Education department failed to heed its demands by July 27.

The demands of the Phek Town Youth Society included the replacement for 16 teachers of the town’s Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS). Some of these teachers had been transferred long ago, a few retired and the rest died. Besides, the post of the geography teacher was not extended while the botany teacher remained absent for many years, the society’s president Neizote Venuh said.

Mr. Thavaseelan said the issues of the Phek school, which has 585 students, were resolved a few days ago. A new principal took charge on August 5, while 22 post-graduate (PGT) and eight graduate teachers have been provided.

“A PGT each in chemistry and maths has been transferred from GHSS Phek to GHSS Kiphire, two among three districts where the science stream is being offered. The department has a shortage of PGTs. We have asked the government for 116 posts of PGTs,” he said.

The interior districts of Arunachal Pradesh are facing a similar problem. In July, a students’ body in the State’s Kurung Kumey district threatened a stir if the Education Department failed to transfer and post teachers in schools across the district, specifically in Koloriang Assembly constituency.

“The schools are in a bad shape and there are hardly any teachers. The education system will collapse if it is not overhauled soon,” student leader Keji Chabok said.


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 2:01:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/proxy-teachers-continue-to-trouble-nagaland/article65750061.ece