Reconstruction of old school buildings sought

April 23rd, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, April 23 (IANS) The regional governments in the northeast have urged the centre to provide adequate funds for rehabilitating old school buildings to avoid a major tragedy considering that the region is in a high risk seismic zone. School education ministers of the eight northeastern states met here Wednesday and finalised an eight point resolution to be submitted to the union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry.

“Thousands of school buildings, constructed more than ten years ago, are not safe to sustain high seismic activity and may collapse during tremors,” said R. Lalthangliana, chairperson of the North-East Education Ministers Committee (NEEMC).

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) earlier notified that northeast India could experience a devastating earthquake as the region is considered by seismologists to be the sixth worst quake prone belt in the world.

The one day summit also urged the union HRD ministry to reconsider its decision to terminate the jobs of over 5,000 teachers engaged for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in the region.

“The union HRD ministry last week issued a circular informing the northeastern states to terminate these teachers, engaged temporarily for SSA,” Lalthangliana, who is also the schools education minister of Mizoram, told journalists.

The 5,000-odd teachers likely to be terminated include 3,000 in Assam and some 300 each in the remaining northeastern states.

The ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (The ‘Education for All’ Movement, sometimes referred to as “each one teach one”) is a flagship programme of the union government for achievement of universalisation of elementary education in a time bound manner,

The ministers jointly urged the central government to provide 100 percent central assistance for setting up of model schools, training of teachers and revision of norms under SSA keeping in view the remoteness of the region and economic backwardness.

The central government launched an ambitious Rs.8.17 billion scheme to develop educational infrastructure in the eight northeastern states.

“Of the Rs.8.166 billion, Rs.6.558 billion have been released so far for various educational projects in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura,” according to a report of the HRD ministry.

The development plans in the northeast are centrally financed on the basis of 90 percent grant and 10 percent loan, the report said.

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