By the Editor
The Meghalaya government has now decided that the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBoSE) will follow National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks for classes I to X from the next academic year. The government’s decision came after thorough research and consultation with different stakeholders. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who declared the government’s decision after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, said the consultations led to the conclusion that the standard of most of the textbooks that are being used by MBOSE, especially in science, english and mathematics , are not at par with the national level and hence need to be improved. However, these books will have to undergo certain modifications before being put to use from the next academic session. Besides, for vernacular medium schools, some change in language would have to be carried out from class I to V before these books can be adapted. The switchover will also cut down on the number of books.
Having changed the books, there is an urgent need for the state to introspect about the education scenario and to immediately introduce remedial measures. Educational institutes
should be regularly inspected and reports submitted so that government can study and introduce necessary guidelines and instructions. Most of the secondary and higher secondary schools are located in urban areas creating inconvenience for students in rural areas. Concerns have been raised over the high dropout rate. Besides, the teaching community needs to be responsible; according to reports, many sublet their jobs to other individuals to teach students while they themselves take up other and more paying engagements.
Some time ago, the Education minister, Rakkam Sangma, had held discussions with principals of secondary and higher secondary schools of Garo Hills seeking solution for improvement of education in the region and to bring down dropout rates, which is high. As per the information provided by respective District School Education Officers and principals with respect to zero pass percentage there are three schools in West Garo Hills, eight in East Garo Hills, three in North Garo Hills and five in South Garo Hills. Principals gave various reasons for the sad situation in their schools. It was suggested that remedial classes be held for those who do not do well in pre-board examinations. Unlike in other states, practice of selection test in board examinations and being replaced by introduction of pre-board examination has been scrapped which therefore make students take it easy. Hence this issue ought to be reconsidered and so re-introduced so that students will take the matter seriously.