Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Mar 4, 2017, 04.00 AM IST
By NIRANJANARADHYA V P
The Karnataka government’s decision on March 1, 2017 to increase the reimbursement for children admitted under RTE Act, 2009 to LKG and standard 1 in private schools from Rs 5,924 to Rs 8,000 and from Rs 11,848 to Rs 16,000, respectively, is shocking and disappointing.
It will not only accelerate the process of closure of government schools, but also promote privatisation and commercialisation of education through the benediction of the state.
This a black mark in the history of Karnataka, especially coming from a chief minister from a socialist tradition and championing the cause of social justice.
It is a blatant capitulation of the state to the private education lobby.
The decision is not only morally unacceptable, but violates the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to education and goes against the very purpose of the RTE act.
In this scenario, I strongly urge the government to reconsider its decision and consider the following demands.
Implement the RTE Act, 2009, effectively by making a written declaration as part of the budget and provide required financial resources to government schools to strengthen them and make them centres of learning that will provide equitable quality education to all children irrespective of their caste, class or status.
Provisions should be made in the budget to create awareness and allot the necessary finances to local authorities, which have been given the primary responsibility of the implementation of the act.
The budget should provide for provision of pre-primary education in government schools to prepare children for primary education as mandated in the act.
This will help in strengthening government schools by attracting more children towards public education system, as the lack of pre-primary education is one of the major causes of the dwindling numbers in government schools. Hence, provision should be made for the gradual inclusion of pre-primary education in government schools.
School development and monitoring committees have the statutory responsibility of implementation of the act at the school level. The allotment of funds based on school development plans prepared by these committees is imperative for the effective functioning of these schools. Financial grants of at least Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh per year should be allotted to each lower primary and higher primary school, respectively, by the government for effective functioning.
Hence, provision should be made in the budget to allot financial resources to these committees to strengthen and enable them to function effectively.
Further, provision should be made in the budget to allot the requisite financial resources for infrastructural facilities in government schools as mandated under the RTE act.
On the whole, it is strongly requested that the government reconsider its decision and consider the fulfillment of the aforementioned demands which are based on the necessities of the society at large.
The author is a development educationist, prime mover of common school system by strengthening public education, and mentor of SDMCs in Karnataka