Government indulging in politics over issue: D’Mello
: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday accused Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of playing politics over the medium of instruction (MoI) issue in primary education, and demanded that he implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act to provide free education to all students at the primary level across the State irrespective of their medium of instruction.
Addressing a press conference along with NCP office-bearer Avinash Bhonsle at the party headquarters here on Saturday evening, chief spokesman of the NCP Trajano D’Mello released data he had obtained from the Department of Education (DoE) through the Right to Information (RTI) to substantiate his accusation that the BJP government was compelling some children to pay for their primary education because their MoI was English.
He said that during the academic year 2012-13 there were 27,639 students in 144 unaided schools where English was the MoI from class I to IV. These students had to pay fees from their pockets.
“Where is the RTE Act which mandates the State to provide free primary education? Is the BJP government preaching inclusive democracy and practicing exclusive democracy by continuing grants to 130 English-medium schools (who switched over to English medium) and denying it to the rest 144 on the pretext that they had given an undertaking to the DoE stating that they would not claim grant-in-aid from the State government to run such schools?” he asked.
He emphasised that this undertaking was given much before the RTE Act came into force and before the State government gave grants to the 130 schools.
Accusing the BJP government of playing politics with the MoI issue, he said that the Cabinet note of the Parrikar government, which tried to resolve the MoI imbroglio after the government came to power last year, had promised to appoint an academic authority that would decide the education policy which should be in line with the RTE Act. However, no such authority has been appointed.
With no concrete policy being formulated, and the government just going ahead with decisions based on its Cabinet note, “we firmly believe that the fate of the schools getting grants remains totally at the mercy of the ruling BJP”, said Mr. D’Mello.
He feared that the government may any day succumb to pressures from language nationalists to change this decision.
When he was asked if he favoured stopping grants to the 130 schools to do away with differentiation and continuation of grants to schools instructing in regional languages, Mr. D’Mello said the NCP was for grants to all schools because it believed in the right of parents and students to choose their MoI.
Academic authority to decide education policy not set up yet: D’Mello
‘We believe that the fate of the schools getting grants remains at the mercy of the BJP’