Sometime back State Education Minister Vinod Tawde announced that the Maharashtra State government has decided to shut down 1,314 primary and secondary schools where the number of students is 10 or fewer than that. It will shift affected students and teachers to the nearest available schools. This decision of the government drew ire from many social activists, students organisations and there were protests against the decision.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Government of Maharashtra regarding the decision to close Zila Parishad schools.
The Commission said that the decision of the State Education Department will adversely affect the students, particularly those coming from the rural background and cannot afford education in private schools.
Many also pointed out that the decision is violating the RTE provisions that state that the distance of the school from the house of a student should be less than 1 km till Std V and less than 3 km for Std VI to VIII.
According to an expert in tribal and rural areas, the government should provide education at doorstep instead of shutting down schools as these people are reluctant to send children to schools. And a decision by the government to close schools will make the situation worse in rural areas. Because mostly in rural areas the number of students is less in schools.
So instead of shutting the schools, the government should improve the standard of education and use the schools building or premises as a multifunctional building. For example, they should provide the service of crèche or daycare centre in the school premises so that the girls who are denied education because they have to take care of their younger siblings can also attend school.
Also, the government comes up with various schemes but there is no proper implementation of such schemes. For example, in government schools, the children are given free books and uniforms but when do the children actually get the items?
Almost after the mid-semester. So children lose interest in the studies as even many parents can’t afford to buy the basic necessities for school. To increase the attendance in schools, the government should work on how they can reduce dropout rates. They can take help from various organisations and conduct surveys and find out root causes of the problem and then work on it.
Also, teachers play a vital part in encouraging students to continue with their studies. So in schools where the attendance is low, teachers should be well trained and undergo regular training so that interest is generated among the children towards education. Lastly, there should be no political interference in the educational sector. All decisions and schemes should be taking into confidence various organisations and for the benefit of children.