Post Mortem

Crippled by Nagaland government: SETAN

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/7/2019 12:57:36 PM IST

 Time and again the “Need for more Inclusive Schools in Nagaland to accommodate childern with special needs (CWSN) has been highlighted and referring to the article on “Addressing Disability” Nagaland Post Dec 07/2014 Nagaland joined the global community in observing International Day of Persons with Disabilities under the theme ‘Sustainable Development’ . The parents of the differently abled has raised many questions. Will our government provide much needed basic services such as schools run by special educators , trained teachers and professionals ? Will the future see the creation of vocational training skills programmes, and social support programmes and most importantly, public awareness and education regarding the unique abilities of persons challenged with special needs? It is for the general information of the public and the parents of special childern in particular, that, Nagaland Government received funds for implementation of the much needed IEDSS (Inclusive Education for the Disabled at Secondary Stage) Scheme during 2011-12 and appointed around 391 Special Education Teachers (SETs) in 2012 to carter to the needs of children with special needs. Unfortunately, the government and the department has evidently and drastically failed at proper implementation of the scheme in accordance with the MHRD directives and guidelines and have put the scheme on suspension since it failed to produce Utilization Certificate to the MHRD owing to the misappropriation of funds by its officials. This misappropriation scam is not a new development. It was unearthed in February 2015, and the Nagaland Vigilance Commission established misappropriation of funds amounting to `. 12.79 crore , meant for disabled children by officials of the School Education Department. The funds were meant for the Inclusive Education for the Secondary Stage (IEDSS) for persons with disabilities and many organisations were outraged and condemned the same. The Vigilance set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the case and even conducted physical verification of SET in each school and established 360 genuine SET eligible for salary and extension of further service. It is to be mentioned that all the genuine teachers were attending to regular classes and had been teaching to general subjects assigned to them without fail even when the government delayed payments of salary extending to years. In addition to that - the Teachers being yet to attain required training were paid only `.8500 per month, just one-third of the actual prescribed amount of `.24,850 by the MHRD. Frustrated with the long wait and with the intend to lessen government’s burden and to equip themselves with the necessary training to enable themselves to carter to the special needs of the differently abled childern, most of the SETs have completed 6 months Foundation course from RCI recognised institutions outside Nagaland on their own expense; yet the department turned a blind eye to the efforts and diligence of the aggrieved SETs and chose to wash their hands off from the plight and misery of the aggrieved Teachers and shockingly served termination orders to the SETs without any prior notice during August 2016 citing that there is no fund and that the SETs lacked training, which, the department assured while appointing that the SETs will be sent for training , batch wise. It is to be considered that each SET has given 5 years in the job investing their prime time and most of the SETs are over-aged and many more on the verge of being over-aged. It is a grave concern that the life and future of 360 SETs and the future of thousands of children with special needs have been sidelined and played with by the department and government. It is also unlawful and illegal on the part of the department to terminate the SETs , for, as long as the scheme exists, as the appointment order clearly states, that the post is Co-terminus with the scheme/project for which the Association has taken the matter to court and the case still ongoing. 

The Special Educator Teachers Association (SETAN) have knocked on many doors and have met concern Minister many a times to bring about a proper implementation of the Scheme, yet, turned deaf ear to and now at this juncture as long as Nagaland government fails to provide the Utilization Certificate to the MHRD the Centre will withold release of funds. The IEDSS Scheme with 100% Central assistance meant for the differently abled children with student-oriented components, such as medical and educational assessment, books and stationary, uniforms, transport allowance, reader allowance, stipend for girls, support services, assistive devices, boarding and lodging facility, therapeutic services, teaching learning materials, etc. Other components being : Appointment of special education teachers, allowances for general teachers for teaching such children, teacher training, orientation of school administrators, establishment of resource room, providing barrier free environment etc. is at stake of being stooped owing to negligence and misuse of funds. It will be grave loss to Nagaland in general and the children in particular if it is not revived soon. Many questions remains unanswered : Why is the department failing to produce Utilization Certificate ? Why is there no action taken against the erring officials yet, and the recovery of misappropriated fund made? Why has the department sidelined and victimized the Teachers with no fault of theirs ? Why is the Scheme at standstill in Nagaland while it has been implemented smoothly in other states? Why is the government neglecting to provide the Children With Special Needs (CWSN) their basic right to Inclusive Education? The aggrieved Special Education Teachers and Association appeals to all right thinking citizens, organisations and NGOs to voice out against the injustice meted out to the aggrieved Teachers, and the children with special needs sabotaging their right to Inclusive Education and depriving them of their special services and support provided by the Centre.

The Association also appeals to the Hon’able CM of Nagaland, Shri. Neiphiu Rio and Hon’able Governor of Nagaland, Shri. Padmanabha Acharya for their immediate intervention on this matter and deliver justice at the earliest. 

Yours Sincerely,

SETAN (Special Educator Teacher Association of Nagaland), 

Setanofficial@gmail.com

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