Though, the State government has launched the ambitious “Chaduvula Pandaga (education festival) on Saturday to increase enrolment of children in government schools, by scrapping several programmes and stopping of funds for effective functioning of schools from this academic year, it is actually discouraging enrolments.

The National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGL), which is aimed at reducing the dropout of the girl students by providing them with job-oriented training courses such as tailoring, sari designing on looms, embroidery, and self-defence techniques such as martial arts, fine skills such as dance, the same has been stopped by the Rajiv Vidya Mission (RVM) due to non-availability of funds.

The NPEGL is being implemented from 2006 and it has helped the girl students learn various job-oriented programmes along with education in the government schools. Under the NPEGL, the authorities distributed sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in the schools free of cost.

The authorities also organised exhibitions displaying products made by the girl students in various schools and conducted cultural and sports events to encourage them to continue their study.

The government has also stopped the release of teacher grant of Rs. 500 per month due to shortage of funds. Under the teacher grant, each teacher would prepare teaching and learning material (TLM) such as chalk pieces other stationary material for use in schools. The government has also abolished appointment of Vidya volunteers in the schools where there are no subject teachers.

“Leave alone non-release of funds under the teacher grant and abolition of NPEGL, how can the schools function if there are no Vidya volunteers in the schools where there no regular or on deputation teachers,” asks APTF district president M. Prathap Reddy.

He also says that around 2,400 government schools, including primary and high schools, do not have sweepers and other class four employees.

In a majority of schools, the teachers and students are forced to ring the school bell and clean the premises, he adds.

Headmistress of Government Girls’ High School, Mankammathota in Karimnagar town, G. Pramoda, said that the scrapping of NPEGL programme would reduce admissions of girl students into the school as a majority of students attend schools only to learn various job-oriented courses imparted under NPEGL, she said and added that even stoppage of teacher grant will have an impact on practical teaching methods.