Thursday, January 23, 2014

?2K students may find schools shut this June

?2K students may find schools shut this June

V Kamalakara Rao, TNN Apr 23, 2013, 03.20AM IST

VISAKHAPATNAM: More than 2,000 children in North Coastal districts will bear the brunt of the state government decision to close schools where just a handful of students are enrolled. "Yes, the government has proposed to shut down schools that have less than 10 students. The school education minister has announced the government's plan to close such schools from the academic year 2013-14. But we have not received any official communication so far. We are currently identifying such schools in the district by gathering data from each school," district education officer (DEO) K Krishna Veni told TOI.
About 400 schools in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts are likely to be closed from the academic year beginning June 2013, according to official sources in the department of education. As many as 25 schools would be closed in Visakhapatnam district, while 184 schools are expected to be shut down in Srikakulam district.
The move appears to be in violation of the guidelines of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), which clearly states that there should be a primary school in every one km radius and upper primary or high school in every three km radius to provide free and compulsory education to children.
The closure of these schools will force more than 2,000 children to travel to distant places to attend alternative schools which will be identified by the government.
Besides schools in rural areas, five schools falling under the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) limits will also be closed. "Five schools that are running under the district primary education programme (DPEP) will have to be closed and merged with nearby civic schools in the city if the government issues an order," GVMC deputy DEO Lakshmi Narasa said.
MLC for the graduates constituency representing Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, M V S Sarma, condemned the government's proposal of closing down schools and said that it is a violation of the guidelines of the RTE Act. The government should have initiated a public debate before making the proposal, he said.
"Without making any collective effort, the state government led by chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has planned to close schools. Many problems would occur if the proposals materialize," Sarma said, adding that he would raise the issue with the government.
The general secretary of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) for Visakhapatnam district, M N Srinivas, said that student unions are against the proposal as it will affect the education system. "The dropout rate of students would increase if the government implements the rationalization system from the next academic year," the student leader said.
An autorickshaw driver, P Prakasa Rao, the father of a Class II student of a civic school in the city, said that the government should focus on improving infrastructure facilities at schools, which is indirectly forcing students to drop out. "Many GVMC schools in the city lack toilet and drinking water facilities for students," Rao said.
The move is in violation of the guidelines of Right to Education Act (RTE), which clearly states that there should be a primary school in every one km radius and upper primary or high school in every three km radius to provide free and compulsory education to children.

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