Telangana Government and the Save Education Committee seem to be at loggerheads now. Opposing the Telangana government's decision to shut down about 4,000 state-run schools, the Save Education Committee (SEC) submitted a memorandum to education minister Kadiyam Srihari late on Monday evening, seeking a rollback of the directive.
In their representation, members of the committee demanded that the government stop implementation of a government order (GO Ms. No. 6) issued in September last year which states that schools with negligible strength should be shut. "Most government schools are located in rural areas. Shutting these schools citing poor strength will only deprive kids of their right to education," said K Laxminarayana, organising secretary of SEC.
During its survey, state authorities found at least 450 schools in the state had zero attendance. However, SEC members - comprising representatives from four teachers' unions, four students' unions and one youth association - aren't convinced about the move. Reiterating the need for these schools in rural pockets, they appealed to the government to investigate the reason behind the low attendance, as opposed to shutting the premises.
"There might be several reasons such as lack of infrastructure, poor teaching, etc. behind poor attendance. The government needs to resolve these issues and develop these schools instead of shutting them in the name of rationalisation," said Laxminarayana. The committee, in its memorandum, also demanded that the government sanction posts for teachers for every class and subject, besides appointing headmasters, to enhance the quality of education.
To provide pre-primary education to students, the committee demanded that the Anganwadi centres be merged with the government schools. "The pre-primary schools form the foundation of every student. If the Anganwadi centres are merged with government schools, education will be more viable for students and enrolment would also go up," argued Chakradhar Rao, president of SEC.
The committee members are now mulling staging protests on May 25, in front of all collectorates across the state simultaneously . "The minister sounded positive about our proposal. However, no commitments have been made so far," Rao said.
Meanwhile, the commissioner of school education in Telangana, T Chiranjeevulu, is believed to have set targets for all district education officers to improve enrolments across government schools.