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Meghalaya: Teacher salaries doubled

Chief minister Mukul Sangma has approved a 100 percent salary increase — with retrospective effect from January 1, 2017 — proposal of the state’s school education and literacy directorate under which 7,000 primary government school teachers will benefit. “A total sum of Rs.63.34 crore will be spent for implementing the proposed increase in grant-in-aid for teachers including 2,450 lower primary, 2,532 upper primary and 844 Hindi teachers,” Sangma informed media in Shillong on May 2.

According to Sangma, the decision to raise teachers’ salaries in government and aided schools is “a mark of acknowledgement” of their hard work despite challenges.


Report admonishes SEBA

A specially constituted committee to examine the marks moderation policy of the Secondary Education Board of Assam (SEBA) has submitted its report, and the state government has accepted its recommendations, education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed the media in Guwahati on May 21.

Earlier this month, the minister admitted in the legislative assembly that the pass percentage of students in the class X matriculation exam had been “manipulated” every year to show the education system in good light.

"There has been a striking rise in the pass percentage of students over the past 15 years or so,” says the report.
Admonishing SEBA, the authors of the report recommend that “award of grace marks must be restricted to students who fail to score the minimum qualifying marks by marginal points (1-5 marks). Moreover, the award of grace marks should be limited to a maximum of three subjects for each student.”  

Mass board exam failure

Sixty-four percent of higher secondary students statewide failed the class XII school-leaving examination of the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB). The board’s results were declared on May 29.

Of the 1,300,000 students who wrote the class XII examination held  from February 14-25 this year, only 30.11 percent of science, 37 percent arts and 73.76 percent commerce students cleared the exam, BSEB chairman Anand Kishore informed the media in Patna on May 30. 

According to Kishore, the low pass percentage of class XII school-leavers is attributable to the stringent measures taken by the state government to prevent cheating and malfeasance which has been endemic in Bihar for several years.


Jammu & Kashmir
Early childhood education initiatives

Education minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari announced a plan to introduce nursery classes for children in the two-four years age group in 800 government primaries across the state. This initiative follows “encouraging public response” to the state government’s introduction of kindergarten classes for children in the four-six years age group in 2015.

Speaking at a conclave of kindergartens hosted by the state’s education ministry in Jammu on May 4, Bukhari explained that kindergartens in government schools will be run in collaboration with the state’s social welfare department. Simultaneously, the education ministry is working on modalities to establish pre-nursery schools, he added.


Job placement scandal

R.K. Hota, associate dean of the Institute of Technical Education and Research, a private engineering college affiliated with Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University, Bhubaneswar, was arrested on charges of distributing fake job placement letters to students. 

An FIR (first information report) was filed by the university registrar after 400 students staged a protest in Bhubaneswar on May 26. The college was unable to show proper documents in connection with the placements process undertaken by it, said police commissioner Y.B. Khurania. 

Students of the institute called off their agitation after the college announced payment of Rs.20,000 to students issued fake job offers.  


PSEB chairman sacked

Chief minister Amarinder Singh ordered Balbir Singh Dhol, chairman of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), to resign his office with immediate effect for “shockingly poor” class X board exam results declared recently. Over 40 percent of students who wrote the exam failed. 

Dhol’s resignation will enable a major overhaul of the school education system in the state, an official spokesperson informed media in Chandigarh on May 25. The chief minister has also directed the finance ministry to make additional funds available to the education ministry.

Meanwhile, the additional chief secretary (school education) has been directed to take charge of PSEB and to constitute a search committee to find a suitable replacement for Dhol in the next 30 days. 

Paromita Sengupta with bureau inputs

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