Minister terms ‘bold’ initiative to create corpus fund

SHILLONG, Sep 25: State Education Minister, Lakmen Rymbui has termed as “bold” the initiative taken by the department and the state government to create a corpus fund of Rs 78, 07, 09, ooo so as to maintain the uninterrupted flow of fund due to delay in receiving funds from the government of India specially with regards to payment of salary to teachers.

Replying to a cut motion during the autumn session of the Meghalaya Assembly, Rymbui said that the Education Department of Meghalaya is implementing the centrally sponsored scheme of SSA and RMSA in the best of its capacity.

“However due to the delay of fund release by the central government, the state government could not release the salary of teachers from April 2018 onwards. Similarly, every year the same financial constraints are being repeated leading to recurring liabilities towards teachers’ salary,” the state Education Minister said.

He also said that to mitigate this chronic financial debacle, the corpus fund was created.

Earlier taking part in the special motion, Congress legislator from Umroi expressed concern that the corpus fund may cause a problem seeing the untimely release of funds from the central government and the state government will bank on it to pay teachers’ salaries.

“This amount will cater to how many months’ salaries?” Lyngdoh asked.

In his reply, Rymbui informed that the corpus fund is not meant only for salary but it is also for other intervention programmes.

Meanwhile, the state Education Minister also informed that with the introduction of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2001-2002 and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) during 2009-2010, the state has made steady progress for the benefit of both the students and teachers.

Rymbui stated that in the implementation of the various interventions under the SSA, the department has been able to bridge the gaps of disparity between rural and urban divide.

“The state has been able to bring a large number of out of school children to school and it is expected that with the continuous and concerted effort, there will be marked reduction in the dropout rate and increase in the literacy rate of the state,” the Meghalaya Education Minister said.

He also informed the House that Meghalaya has notified the list of neighbourhoods and the schools situated therein.

It has demarcated 5158 neighbourhoods and identified 12782 schools under it, out of which 9417 are primary schools and 3365 upper primary schools even as GIS mapping of schools have been completed.

The state Education Minister also said that the state has an access ratio of 91.31 percent at Primary level and 87.02 percent at Upper primary level and a total number of 2907 Lower Primary schools and 2232 Upper primary schools have been opened under SSA.

“532 special training centers have been set up across the state wherein out of school children identified are being enrolled, trained and motivated to encourage them to go back to school,” Rymbui added.

Moreover, the Education Minister pointed out with the introduction of RMSA the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for secondary level has improved from 2016-17 of 83.25 percent to 89.40 percent in 2017-18.

He said that this improvement can be attributed to the extension of secondary education to several interior habitation. Rymbui also added that the dropout rate at the secondary level has reduced to 24.20 mpercent as compared to 28.06 percent in 2016-17.

“This a clear sign that the road to a better access to secondary schools is narrowing down,” the Education Minister said.

Altogether the state has made 64 RMSA schools functional throughout the state.

The schools include construction of new building, strengthening of existing schools and construction of nine girls hostel under Educational Backward Blocks.

“Construction of nine girls hostel under RMSA in Educationally Backward Blocks in Betasing, Dadenggiri, Dalu, Selsella, Tikrikilla, Zikzag, Songsak, Samanda and Baghmara is in good progress. The progress of construction of these girls hostel has reached 65 percent to 80 percent of completion and shall be functional from the next academic session,” Rymbui informed the House.

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