States

NHRC issues notice to govt. over move to close schools

New Delhi: Taking suo motu cognisance of a report in The Hindu on December 21, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Maharashtra government over its decision to shut down about 1,300 zila parishad schools.

The State had decided to close all zilla parishad schools that have 10 or less students, shifting them to nearby schools. A total of 1,314 schools would be closed as a result of the decision.

Issuing a notice to the chief secretary, the NHRC sought a report within four weeks. The commission said that the decision would adversely impact students, particularly those from rural areas, who cannot afford private schools.

“The commission is of the opinion that before implementation of the decision, a thorough study is required to be conducted so that the right to basic education of the children is not violated,” the NHRC said in a statement.

Education Minister Vinod Tawde had said that the fact these schools had only 10 or less students pointed towards the poor quality of education.

The decision to shut down the schools would increase the distance students have to travel, in some cases in violation of the norms laid down by the Right to Education Act. The RTE Act says that students of up to Class V should have schools within one km of their homes, and students of Class VI to Class VIII should have schools within three km of their residence.

As The Hindu reported, one school in Raireshwar of Pune’s Bhor tehsil would be among those closed, forcing the 10 students enrolled there to travel 35 km to a school in Rairi. The journey could take the students two hours.

The only teacher posted at Raireshwar school had said that he feared the students would drop out. He also said that it would be nearly impossible for the students to walk 35 km during the monsoon.

Two other schools in Malwari and Keshavnagr would also have a similar situation.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 3:39:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/nhrc-issues-notice-to-govt-over-move-to-close-schools/article22289088.ece

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