The horizontal spread of residential schooling for scheduled tribes (ST) is not uniform and self-evident in the absence of transparent criteria for the setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS), revealed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the social sector, tabled in the House on Friday.
“Eighteen out of 43 talukas had no EMRS, while three talukas had more than one EMRS,” it pointed out.
While Bhiloda taluka has three EMRS, Waghodia and Bardoli talukas have two each. Talukas with a higher concentration of ST population include Uchchal (97 per cent), Umarpada (96 per cent), Dediyapada (95 per cent), Garbada (94 per cent), Fatehpura (92 per cent), Zalod (88 per cent). These are in contrast to Palanpur (four per cent) and Waghodiya (30 per cent) talukas with lower ST population.
In Gujarat, 43 tribal talukas have been identified under 14 Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) areas. The EMRS 2010 guidelines provide for the establishment of at least one EMRS in each tribal taluka. As these are primarily for children from ST communities, the state government was expected to fix some criteria for deciding the inter-se priority for establishing EMRS in these tribal talukas.
Regarding the functioning of residential schools under the Gujarat State Tribal Education Society, due to non-starting or part payment of the higher secondary sections, students of eight Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) and 19 Girls Literacy Residential Schools (GLRS) were deprived of higher secondary education.
Out of 36 EMRS and 43 GLRS, the choice of all three streams was available in only four. “Teachers were appointed on a fixed monthly remuneration on contract basis, which was lower than the minimum wages of the state for skilled labourers. As a result, many of them left the job in between leading to vacancies and affecting regular conduct of classes,” the report highlighted.
“The society could not start the construction work of seven EMRS and eight GLRS, though the Government of India provided funds to the tune of Rs 110 crore. Due to the non-availability of buildings, these schools were being run in the buildings of other schools. As a result, the classrooms and hostels were found overcrowded in ITDP Banaskantha. Shortage of beds and mattresses was noticed in two EMRs and six GLRS,” stated the report.
In EMRS Jagana, against 479 students, only 294 sets of bed mattress and linens are available. In EMRS Kadana, against 338 students, only 155 beds are available and the overall shortage of beds in eight out of 12 test checked schools was 27%. During the visit of three GLRS of ITDL Chhota Udepur, students were found collecting water from water tankers and storing them in buckets, as the building had no facility of direct water connections.” the report revealed.
It further pointed out that monitoring and evaluation of the schools by the society was found efficient, as it had not established any mechanism to assess curricular and extracurricular progress of the students, data of EMRS students who got admission in higher education institutions and details of dropouts in the talukas.
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