The need for a transfer policy
- (A teachers' viewpoint) -

P Birchandra Singh *

Department of Education, Government of Manipur

It seems that there is, till today, no transfer policy concerning the college teachers of Manipur. Even if there is one, it is evidently clear that the same is not being put into practice so far. The worst sufferers of this anomaly are the valley-based teachers being posted in the hill colleges.

Some of them have been in the same college for more than 10 years; a few of them nearly 20 years. Their pleas for transfers to the valley after a sufficient number of years in the hill have been hardly listened to by the government. Most of them are frustrated and agitated with the passive response and indifferent attitude of the concerned ministry in this issue.

Once former Education Minister Shri L Jayantakumar Singh, during one his tours to the district headquarters of Ukhrul, showed his genuine concern over the need of a viable transfer policy to show impartial treatment to the government teachers in respect of their posting. Unfortunately, no further action has been taken up by the concerned Ministry in this regard, which is an evidence of the government's lack of serious concern for the education sector. A great shock indeed!

Dear reader, have you ever cared to know what the grievances and inconveniences of a valley-based teachers being posted too long in the hills are?

Well, the following grievances are normally faced by such a teacher -

1. Failure to look after one's domestic affairs satisfactorily.

2. Failure to guide and nurture one's own children, thereby one is impelled to be a helpless witness to undesirable change of behavior in one's own children, including gradual decline in their educational achievement.

3. Failure to satisfactorily look after one's old parents, who may need physical and emotional support, which increases year by year.

4. Failure to participate in social development programmes/works of one's own locality/Leikais.

5. Failure to make due contributions to social welfare programmes on a large scale, for example, at the state level (through non-governmental organizations of socio-educational, socio-economic, or socio-cultural status, depending on one's aptitude and calibre)

6. Inability to regularly visit libraries like the State Central Library, the Manipur University library and to have regular access to internet, which are necessary for a teacher doing Ph D or some research project.

We ought to note that lack of viable transfer policy or failure to implement the existing one might pose a stumbling block in the way of quality/value education. Because-

A teacher on posting for too many years in the hill may become frustrated because of the reasons cited above, thereby rendering him inactive and short of enthusiasm and subsequently lethargic.

Whenever a teacher, on his being transferred to the hill, tries to gain a stay-order of his transfer order by hook or by crook, it adversely affects the normal academic atmosphere of the institute deemed to be relieved.

The reluctance of the teacher concerned, thereby leading to his non-complaince with the government order, may encourage and breed favouritism in the corridor of political and bureaucratic power.

By the way, this writer firmly believes that a teacher should not hesitate to work in the hill for a reasonable period of time during one's career, simply because -

i) A good teacher should love to be in a new environment from time to time, which invariably testifies his dynamism, adventurous spirit, inquisitive nature - the tenents a teacher is supposed to imbibe to his students.

ii) A good teacher should desire to have his students belonging to as diversified background as possible, the benefit of which would be proved worthwhile some day in the future.

iii) Considering the dire need of an emotional integration between the hills and the valleys of Manipur today, those teachers who have had the opportunity to serve in the hills of Manipur during his/her professional career have a significant role to pay in this respect.

It is high time that a long term solution to this crucial problem of transfer and posting be found out by the ministry concerned. In this respect, what we really need is the sense of true commitment on the part of the government functionaries; call it political acumen or sense of professionalism or whatever one may please. So the government should examine the factors behind this lacuna.

If teachers are reluctant to go to the hills, the factors of his reluctance must be studied logically. If it is due to poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities that discourage a teacher to be posted in the hills, the government should come forward to remove the shortcomings and improve the conduction immediately.

The physical size of Manipur is comparable to a district of some big states of India. Why then all this delaying. It is nothing but lack of will, as far as one can understand it.

To conclude, may I emphasize with all earnestness that the state government should make a viable transfer policy or otherwise implement existing one without fail before it is too late. Higher education flourished with a boom in the 1960s in the valley and hills of Manipur. But half a century is has gone without a viable transfer policy for teachers. Really incredible!

Let's end this absurdity and give education a chance to resurrect from its lethargic slumber through concerted efforts of all. Otherwise, wither shall we direct our future?

* P Birchandra Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer has been teaching at Pettigrew College, Ukhrul, since August 2000 till November 2011
This article was posted on December 22, 2011.

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