Tumkur, July 4, 2012, DHNS:Centre, State refuse grants to provide vehicles for merged schools
The Centre has refused to fund the ‘escort’ project aimed at providing transport facilities for children of those government schools which have been merged with other schools, owing to less student strength.
The State has proposed the project, following a High Court direction in this regard. Even as the Centre, which is keen on the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, has refused to provide grants, the State itself is not ready to provide grants for the ‘escort’ project.
The Centre and the State share the costs of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the ratio of 65:35. The State had proposed that the ‘escort’ project be funded using grants from the Abhiyan and sent a proposal in this regard to the Union government.
The department of public instruction (DPI) has identified 2,073 children in the district for the ‘escort’ project. It sent a proposal to the State government in April this year, envisaging a grant of Rs 300 per child per month for the transportation purposes of the students to school.
Boon for students
Once implemented, the project will prove a boon for students in the rural areas of the State. An official of the DPI told Deccan Herald that presently, it was not possible to take care of the students’ transport due to the paucity of funds. In the Tumkur educational district alone, 61 schools with a strength of less than five were closed in the last academic year.
As many as 232 schools with a student strength of less than 10 have been identified in the district. The student numbers are expected to dwindle further this year. It is feared that more than 100 schools may have to shut down in the Tumkur educational district alone this academic year.
The number of schools being closed down this way are more in the villages, with the children from poorer backgrounds who study in these schools being the hardest hit.
Adding to the woes of these students is the lack of bus connectivity to the rural hinterland.
The parents have either to suffer silently or pay through their nose if they admit their wards to private educational institutions.