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TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION STILL NOT A PRIORITY FOR U.P. GOVERNMENT
In U.P. the Chief Minister has launched a campaign to get children enrolled into schools and linked it to a tree plantation drive. He has also distributed dress, socks, shoes, school bag, free books to encourage children to go to school. Every school has been given a target to plant 40 saplings. The tree plantation drive will go on till 31 July, 2017 until the admission campaign would go on.
Like the previous governments to demonstrate his commitment to education Yogi Adityanath has also launched a campaign to get children to schools called ‘Study well, grow immensely’. It would have been better if instead of launching a new campaign Yogi would have concentrated on implementing the Right to Education Act, 2009.
Question arises as to how the children will study and grow when the quality of government schools is substandard and the elite schools are not willing to admit students from weaker categories and disadvantaged groups whose admission is being ordered by the District Magistrate under RTE Act, 2009 section 12(1)(c) for free education from Classes I to VIII. City Montessori School, Navyug Radiance, City Inernational, St. Mary Intermediate College, Virendra Swaroop Public School of Lucknow and Virendra Swaroop Public School, Chintal Public School and Stepping Stone Public School in Kanpur are openly violating the RTE Act by not admitting any children whose admissions are ordered by DM and the administration and government appear to be helpless before them. The quality of government schools cannot improve so long as glamour and dominance of private schools continues.
Then there are children who are out of school who are either victims of child labour or involved in begging. When Yogi Adityanath is in Lucknow his car passes the main crossing of the city in Hazratganj every day near Vidhan Sabha where a number of children can be found begging. These existence of these children is clear violation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, the formal name for RTE. What is Yogi going to do about these children?
CM’s priority is tree plantation and distribution of books, dress, socks, shoes and school bag which are merely material items. He mind doesn’t go in the area of quality of teaching. How does he propose to motivate the teachers to teach?
The officers now know that Yogi is more interested in tree plantation. Hence their focus would also be to meet the plantation target rather than try to admit out of school children. It would have been better had Yogi given them the target of getting children admitted to government schools. Because of deteriorating quality of government schools and children migrating to private schools through admissions under section 12(1)(c) of RTE Act, the strength in government schools is depleting. Some schools are on the verge of being closed. Government teachers could have been given the responsibility to get out of school children and children in child labour situation admitted and ensure their continuity in schools. Large number of children drop out of school before class VIII stage in India.
The material resources needed to run the government schools have been mobilised over a period of time. Good classrooms, toilets, mid-day meal, handsome salaries for teachers – are all there. But as the material resources have gone up quality of teaching has gone down.
There is only one way to improve the quality of teaching in government schools and that is to admit children of all receiving government salaries to government schools. Justice Sudhir Agarwal of Allahabad High Court says that quality of teaching has fallen because the children of those responsible for running these schools don’t study here. Even the children of teachers and para-teachers don’t study in government schools where they teach. Hence he concludes that until the children of these people do not study in government schools their quality would not improve.
The U.P. government was supposed to implement this order within six months. It chose to ignore the order. It filed a delayed Special Leave Petition opposing the order which is yet to be admitted. Meanwhile the Chief Secretary is liable to receive a contempt notice.
The U.P. government which has recently come to power should withdraw the SLP filed by previous government and implement the order of Justice Sudhir Agarwal. This will open an option for people who so far have to send their children to high fees charging private schools. The children of poor will also benefit as they will receive good quality education and can aspire for better future.
One is forced to buy an Air India ticket if one is going for government work even though it is probably costlier than most airlines. If the government can force people to buy Air India tickets to keep the official carrier afloat why can it not make it compulsory for people receiving salaries from government to send their children to government schools to maintain their high quality.
Government officers enjoy the facilities of government housing, vehicles, domestic workers in homes, gardeners and other legal-illegal benefits. So why can’t they patronise the government schools and hospitals. Is it not their responsibility to ensure the quality of government schools and hospitals?
By Sandeep Pandey
A-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016
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