Unmoved, Maharashtra govt releases timetable to close down over 1,300 schools -Alifiya Khan
-The Indian Express
Issued by education department, it lists various tasks to be carried out for closure
Pune: A day after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sent a notice to the Maharashtra government over its plans to close 1,314 schools in the state, a defiant education department remained firm on its decision.
While state Education Minister Vinod Tawde issued a statement, saying he would defend the state’s stand before the NHRC, the primary education department issued a ‘guidance information’ and a timetable to ensure that the schools are closed within the next couple of days.
The state education department’s decision to close 1,300 Zilla Parishad and government-aided schools, due to poor enrolment figures, had come under severe criticism. However, Tawde “welcomed” the NHRC notice, and said, “It is a blessing in disguise. It will allow the state government to clear its stance in a judicial trial rather than one by the media”.
Defending its decision, the state government has said that poor enrolment numbers in the schools reflected the “poor quality of education”, so those with less than 10 students would be shut down and their students shifted to nearby schools. But education activists have pointed out that the move violates the Right To Education Act, since in many cases, children would have to walk distances beyond 3 km to reach their new schools.
The NHRC notice had given the state government a period of 30 days to send its response. But the latest circular by the latter makes it clear that by next month, the government intends to complete the process of shutting down these schools.
The detailed timetable by the education department lists the various tasks to be carried out by its officers to complete the closure process.
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The Indian Express, 30 December, 2017, http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/unmoved-maharashtra-govt-releases-timetable-to-close-down-over-1300-schools-5004514/