Now that CBSE has cancelled board examinations for Class XII, what is TN’s decision on holding state board examinations?
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Our chief minister has a lot of concern for the safety of students and their future. We will discuss the issue with the chief minister on Wednesday and he will take a call.
Students are venting their anger on social media, highlighting sexual assaults at the hands of teaching staff and indifference of managements. What are you going to do?
Every school should have a committee headed by a female teacher to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. If the school managements go beyond a ‘limit,’ the state government will not hesitate to move the CBSE for action. The teaching staff, who commits such an offence should be punished. Whenever such complaints are received, the education department holds an inquiry and submits a report to the government. For us, the school management or the teaching community should not get affected just because a teacher commits an offence, or a student gives wrong information. It should be noted that the chief minister has ordered a committee to be set up to frame guidelines for online classes.
The DMK government boycotted a meeting convened by the Centre because the latter did not respond to a request to hold a minister-level discussion on New Education Policy (NEP). Is Tamil Nadu the loser?
We only wanted the Centre to have a meeting at the ministerial level since we are elected members. The policy has many flaws which are against the interests of the students. We are against the three-language formula or kulakkalvi thittam (hereditary education) in the name of vocational courses. The chief minister will soon hold a meeting on the NEP.
DMK also promised a separate state education policy to fulfil the needs of the students. Please Comment.
Our promise is to have a policy for our own and abolishing NEET will form part of that. The previous AIADMK did not do the job properly. You wait and see what DMK will d o on NEET.
What are your immediate priorities in the school education department?
I can proudly say we are on a par with the CBSE when it comes to content or syllabus. We need to bring in innovation and reforms. We have set up a thinktank, a 12-member expert group, to aid us in our activities like setting up model schools, CSR activities or availing ourselves of funds. There are also plans to make the state-run Kalvi TV interactive. You will get to see the developments after the upcoming assembly session.
Dropout rates at all levels have been a cause of concern. What is the current status?
It is prevalent in some areas, mostly among the downtrodden sections who either take away children for work or get their girl children married. We are trying to engage with children to minimise the dropout rate. The continued absence of 30 days without an excuse is considered a dropout in our system.
Have you got a blueprint for the revival of Anna Centenary Library?
Yes, soon the work will begin.