The government's ambitious adult literacy education scheme still exists, but not a single centre is functioning in Quepem taluka. Despite this two supervisors appointed for the scheme are stationed at the office of the assistant district education inspector (ADEI) in Quepem. They now check the quality of midday meals served in schools, say ADEI officials.
Implemented in 1972, the adult literacy education scheme envisaged imparting education through classes, including at night to cover the working labour class. To oversee the functioning of various centres, 47 supervisors were appointed by the government.
Madhukar N Raut Dessai was appointed in 1982 and was transferred to the Quepem office in 1994. Sandhya S Naik was appointed in 1988 and was posted to Quepem in 2003.
Quepem ADEI officials told TOI they have no records to show when the adult literacy education centres stopped functioning in the taluka.
With the centres not functioning but the supervisors still occupying the posts, citizens have raised questions about their role.
"The supervisors are in contact with supervision of midday meals daily. The supervisors visit a minimum of three schools per day and check the midday meal," states information procured by activist John Fernandes under the Right to Information Act from the ADEI office.
The ADEI further stated that no adult literacy education centre was functioning in Quepem when either supervisor joined and no diary is maintained to keep a track of the supervisors' day-to-day work and duties.
Raising doubts about the supervisors actually monitoring the midday meal scheme in the absence of a diary, sources told TOI that the supervisors monthly salaries -allegedly around 40,000 each-are a waste of resources.
Fernandes, an advocate, claimed the midday meal scheme has been uniformly implemented in the state only in the last three years. "What have these supervisors been doing for the last 15 years?" he asked.
The supervisors maintain they are in contact with the supervision of midday meals for around 100 primary and high schools in Quepem taluka and cover three schools per day. Each school is monitored after eight days on rotation. The Quepem ADEI office has a capacity of 11 staff.
Fr Jerry Vaz, headmaster of Fatima High School, Rivona, said an ADEI official comes once in three months to check the food.
He said a majority of students do not eat the midday meal as it is below standard. He further said he and some teachers taste the food before serving it to the students.
When contacted, authorities of many aided schools in the taluka denied any ADEI official visits the schools to check the midday meal.
Deputy director of adult education, Santosh Amonkar, said he is unaware about the nature of the duties carried out by the supervisors at the ADEI office at Quepem.
He said 31 of the 47 supervisors appointed by the government have retired, while 16 have been posted at various ADEI offices. Thirty-two adult education literacy centres continue to function under the scheme in Goa. Mormugao taluka has the maximum of seven centres, Sanguem has six, Salcete and Sattari have five each, Bardez has four, Ponda and Pernem have two each and Bicholim has one.
Amonkar said the adult literacy education scheme was revised in 2010. Under the revised scheme teachers/instructors teach the adults orally without supplying any books. Earlier, the government would supply notebooks and textbooks. He further said that all the centres conduct classes only for one hour, thrice a week. [TOI]