‘Vidya Sambaralu’, an education mission being organised by the State government with the objective of enrolment of children in government schools and reduction of dropouts, is not taking into consideration the ground realities.
The absence of ‘English medium’, and the shortage of teachers are the most important factors for the parents’ lack of confidence in the government schools, feels a teacher. This explains the mushrooming of private schools.
The raids on ‘street corner’ schools and their closure for failure to comply with fire safety and other regulations are likely to result in increase in the dropout rate undermining the very mission.
District Education Officer K. Krishnaveni has said that notices have been issued to 25 unrecognised schools and if they do not comply with the rules, they will be shut down from Monday.
Cautioning the parents about such schools, she has advised them to get a clear idea on the recognition before admitting their children.
While there is an option that the children from BPL families can seek admission in the nearest school, government or corporate, under the RTE, there is no clarity on the issue.
“The corporate schools are under obligation to provide 25 per cent free seats to the poor as the government is providing them land and other facilities,” said MLC M.V.S. Sarma. However, the corporate school managements have already gone to court on the issue.
However, the MLC did not agree with the general contention that the standards in government schools is declining.
“On the contrary their pass percentage in SSC improved during the last four years,” he says.
There are 72 Municipal Primary Schools in Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and the small private schools would be over 500. The private schools should not be closed without showing an alternative to the students, he adds.
The small private schools are demanding categorisation of the schools for implementation of the norms. While agreeing to ensure adequate storage of water, insisting on fire NOC and other regulations, which cost thousands of rupees, would force them to close the schools, which run on a shoestring budget and are located in low income group localities.
They say that they are contributing to the cause of educating the poor and lower income groups.