Educationist V.P. Niranjanaradhya has demanded that political parties fighting the Assembly elections include education in their manifestos and ensure effective implementation of free and compulsory elementary education and other such education policies.
On February 26, Mr. Niranjanaradhya launched a State-wide campaign from Bidar titled “Enough of caste religion hatred - need fundamental Right to Education” under the banner of Peoples Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education, a consortium of 29 organisations.
Addressing a press conference in Kalaburagi on Tuesday Mr. Niranjanaradhya criticised political parties for indulging in creating religious polarisation and indulging in politics of mudslinging. He said that no political party is interested in discussing the education system. He urged the parties to come out with a plan on inclusive education that can provide all children a fair chance to go to school. Only education can transform lives, he added.
He urged the State government to effectively implement the Right to Education (RTE) policy. Though the RTE policy was introduced by the government 13 years ago, it has achieved only 23% implementation.
Criticising the government for allocating less for education in the Budget, Mr. Niranjanaradhya urged the government to increase its budget allocation for education to 15% from the present 11% of the total State Budget. Students admitted to government schools should not be deprived of books, shoes, socks and uniforms.
He warned the government not to close down schools in the State. Giving the excuse of low enrolment in some schools, the government has closed down 155 schools in a year.
In fact, enrolment has increased in government schools in the last three years. In the 2019-20 academic year, 49,06,231 students got admitted to government schools across the State. The number of admissions was 50,31,606 in the 2020-21 academic year, while it was 54,45,989 in 2021-22, he added.
There are at least 2,472 government schools across the State that are functioning with single teachers. Of these, the number of primary schools is 2,064, higher primary schools 184 and high schools 224. He also demanded that the government fill vacant posts of teachers.