Hyderabad: Trying to make up for its decision to shut down several thousand government schools, the Telangana government has proposed paying the stranded students Rs 300 per month as conveyance allowance to allow them to travel to other schools to continue their studies.
Some 4,600 schools have been targeted for closure on the grounds that enrolment has been poor. They have less than 20 students and running such schools is not viable, the government says.
The government has thus merged schools that have low enrollment with nearby schools that have a reasonable number of students. Teaching staff too could be rationalised by transferring them from the low enrolment schools to other schools.
Opposition parties and student organisations have been opposing this move as it will deprive children from deprived sections of a chance to be educated. They argue that it is in violation of the Right to Education Act, which mandates availability of schools in the neighbourhood.
“If schools are shifted to nearby villages and towns, dropouts will increase in poorer sections as parents would not like to send their children outside. Transport is also a problem in remote and agency areas,” said Congress MLA Challa Vamshi Chand Reddy, who has threatened to launch agitation programmes against the closure of schools.
Deputy Chief Minister and education minister Kadiam Srihari does not agree. “This should not be viewed as closure of schools but strengthening of government schools by merging low enrollment schools into others. No decision has been taken on how many schools will be merged. Officials have identified low enrollment schools and submitted a report to government,” he said.