Sunday , July 22 2018

Andhra Pradesh 1,200 schools shut over merger of sports, youth services

HRD ministry has also raised the question as to why sports education is neglected in upper primary, higher secondary schools in AP.

Budget mentions 17 percent allocation; in reality, 1,200 schools are closed.

Vijayawada: The state budget had stated that 17 percent of its allocation was for school education. However, in a recent report, it was mentioned that around 1,200 schools were being closed down and some schools will be handed over to the corporate entities. This contrast is now being questioned by the Union Ministry of HRD.

According to sources in the state ministry of HRD, HRD ministry has also raised the question as to why sports education is neglected in the upper primary &  higher secondary school levels in Andhra Pradesh. Also, it has required details of the schools ready for closure and the reasons for the same. In the case of the report is not convincing, the HRD ministry may call for the top brass of the state HRD ministry for the explanation as to why school education was being neglected in the state.

In fact, spending for various autonomous bodies under the ministry of HRD, like Kendriya Vidyalayas Navodaya Vidyalaya Samithi (NVS), NCERT, NBB, and CTSA have been rationalized and are allotted to the sum of Rs 6,563.35 crore for BE 2016-17 as grants to these entities. The working, as well as the performance of these autonomous bodies, is being monitored by the Board of Governors, Finance Committee, and their annual reports.

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Likewise, the performance of the state government-run schools also will be measured and accordingly suitable financial support or assistance will be provided by the Union Ministry of HRD under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamika Siksha Abhiyan schemes.

Though, AP school education department is least bothered about the same and is planning to close down the schools, in the name of upgrading them as corporate schools or handing them over to the corporate schools, due to lack of funds.

Notably, the state government has conveniently ignored the ‘Swachh Vidyalaya Initiative’ launched by the department of school education & literacy. It was an Initiative under the title of Swachh Bharat Mission with an objective to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in all government schools within the timeline of August 15, 2015. But, AP government has not met with guidelines of the initiative and is also not ready to spend funds for the same.

While this initiative was made successful in a partnership with all the state governments, 64 central public sector undertakings, and 11 private corporates. With this, about 13.77crore children in 11.21 lakh government schools all over the country are benefited. Still, AP registered an unpleasant percentage.

Concern over sports merger

The apprehensions over the merger of the departments of sports and youth into one entity have led to the fresh controversy, as the Ministry of Youth Services has prepared a file note on this subject.

In case this is going to happen, the future generation of students, particularly after the one decade, will have no room to claim themselves any benefit under sports quota for employment. The state will have to sacrifice its brand image in the sports, too. In fact, academicians have been suggesting to the Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to seriously consider merging of two departments, as the schools won’t face the lack of funds to promote sports education from the upper primary level.

There would be good support from the centrally-funded schemes, they aver.

The academicians have been trying to bring in the concept of Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA), which was launched in the year 2015 by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. However, the school education department was listening to their concerns.

This is an initiative to motivate and to encourage children of the age-group 6-18 years, in Science, Mathematics, and Technology. The key activities under this program include mentoring of elementary and secondary schools by Institutions of Higher Education, forming Maths and Science clubs for children at schools, and professional development of teachers in order to make the teaching of Maths & Science interesting for students. Funding for activities under RAA is to be retrieved within the components of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.

“The initiatives of SSA and RMSA help promote academic discipline in a pleasant manner, coupled with sports and games, phase-wise,” a senior bureaucrat said.

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