New Delhi: The Supreme Court has voiced concern over low enrollment in government schools in Telangana and directed the state government to apprise it about the steps taken and progress made to "attract" children.
The apex court noted that although Telangana government has taken steps like appointing more teachers and improving the quality of education to attract children, but that failed to solve the problem.
"We direct the competent authority of the state to apprise us about the progress made to attract children. The state is required to take appropriate decision keeping in view the ground reality so that the children come to schools," the court said.
"Let the steps be taken as thought appropriate by the state, for the obligation is that of the state to comply with the provisions of Right to Education Act, 2009," a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said.
Senior advocate P V Shetty, appearing for Telangana, informed the bench that the state has taken a number of steps like mid-day meals, transportation from the residence to the schools, providing free textbooks and two sets of school uniforms, no detention policy up to Class IX besides among others.
"Telangana has also taken number of steps like special training to the out-of-school children enrolled in age appropriate class through non-residential training centres, making provision for dropout girls by enrolling them in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas and continuation of their education, making arrangement for providing aids and appliances and escort facility to the children requiring special needs," he said.
However, the bench said, "The effort may be a laudable one but that does not really solve the problem; the provisions that have been made, if on a careful scrutiny, may tempt the parents to send the children to schools but principal purpose being education, there is some kind of thinking in the mind of parents as well as the children. The state is required to take care of the same."
The matter is now listed for next hearing on July 13.
The direction of the bench came on a plea filed by J K Raju and others, seeking direction for steps to be taken for filling up vacancies of teachers in schools of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
On the last date of hearing, the apex court had taken strong note of the fact that almost 400 government schools in Telangana have "zero enrollment".
The concern came after the state government informed it that out of 18,139 primary schools, 398 schools have zero enrollment, 980 schools have between 1-10 students and 2333 schools have between 11-20 students in year 2015-16.
Migration and shrinking of habitations were cited as reasons for the lack of attendance in schools. The precarious condition had resulted many government schools functioning with zero strength or about 10-20, making them uneconomical, with the Education Department unable to provide teachers....