Hill guardians seek quality education


Kalimpong, April 24: The Guardians’ Forum for Education has decided to launch a vigorous campaign to pressure the Bengal government to set up a District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) here for improving the standard of basic education in the hills.

Although DIET s have been set up in almost all the districts of the country on the recommendation of the National Education Policy, 1986, Darjeeling is yet to have one. The state government had once toyed with the idea of setting up a DIET at the Basic Teachers’ Training Institute in Darjeeling but the project did not materialise.

“We have come to know that the government has dropped the idea of setting up a Diet in the hills on grounds of inadequate infrastructure. However, we believe the institute can easily come up on the campus of the Basic Teachers’ Training Institute, spread across 9.5 acres here” said Tara Sundas, the convener of the forum.

DIETs are meant to be a resource support structure for elementary education at the district-level. Sundas said the forum would petition the DGHC administrator B.L. Meena when he comes here early next month, requesting him to use a portion of the Rs 121 crore, lying in the coffers of the hill council, for creating the required infrastructure for the institute. “Such an institute will be a big asset for the people of the hills. As it is, the previous DGHC regime did absolutely nothing on the education front,” said Sundas.

As part of its pressure campaign, the forum plans to launch mass signature campaign and submit a petition to the education minister. The forum also wants the government to take immediate steps to reopen the Basic Teachers’ Training Institute which, along with other similar government-affiliated institutes in the state, has remained closed since July, 2006 after they failed to comply with the guidelines set by the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE).

According to the NCTE Act, 1993, permission from the council is mandatory to run such institutes. However, only a few out of the 132 government-affiliated institutes in the state have got the NCTE nod. The majority of the state-run institutes offers one-year courses, while the NCTE rules stipulate that duration of any teachers’ training course should be two years, said Sundas.

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