GUWAHATI, Sept 14 - Asserting that the State government is adopting a student-centric approach to put the beleaguered government-run school education back on the rails, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today told the Assembly that ensuring qualitative improvement is the government�s biggest agenda.
Replying to the debate on the cut motion on the demand for supplementary grants for the education department, Sarma also bemoaned the lack of involvement of the legislators in boosting the educational scenario in their respective constituencies, and proposed that each of the legislators adopt a high or higher secondary school as a model school and supervise its affairs for transforming it into a centre of excellence.
�We are stuck in a teacher-centric approach for long, resulting in undermining of the students� interests. This has to change for effecting qualitative transformations in government-run schools,� he said.
Sarma announced that this year onwards the government would be providing free textbooks to higher secondary students as well, besides appointing 5,500 high school teachers.
He added that free hostels for students from economically weaker sections would be facilitated at all colleges in the State, beginning with the five colleges named after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. �This government has already given free admission to 12 lakh college students, as we want to ensure that each student goes to college,� he said.
Lamenting lack of media coverage for the �good things� happening in the sphere of government-run school education, the Minister said that many schools, including those from remote areas, were showing remarkable results, but the media rarely focused on those.
�I can assert that teachers in government schools are a better lot than their counterparts in private schools. What they need is facilities and we are committed to providing all the infrastructure,� he said.
At the same time, he added, teachers playing truant has been a problem with many schools and the government has to act tough on them.
Earlier, taking part in the discussion, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, Devananda Hazarika, Ramendra Narayan Kalita, Aminul Islam, Piyush Hazarika, Abdul Khaleque and Imanuel Mushahary gave their suggestions for addressing the ills such as shortage of schools, teachers, infrastructure, etc., plaguing the education sector.