Twenty-two Moulana Azad Model Schools in Karnataka are under the government scanner because of low enrolment—fewer than 150 admissions against the sanctioned intake of 300 in each of the minority institutions.
The government drew Opposition flak after an order directed the minority welfare department either to shut down the schools or to transfer the students to other MAM schools with high demand or to government schools.
The schools were conceptualised by the government in 2017 to complement Urdu medium schools and madrasas as well as provide quality education and good infrastructure. The government sanctioned 100 such schools in 2017-18 and 100 more in 2018-19. As many as 39,000 class 6-10 students are studying in these schools across the state.
Raghavendra T, director of the minority welfare department, however, denied any plan to shut down the 22 schools in the middle of the academic year. “The government listed a series of recommendations based on our report about the state of MAM schools. The low admission count in 22 MAM schools is because of a shortage of teachers, infrastructure-related issues and lack of demand for such schools, among other factors. We are working to develop the existing schools or relocate the students to schools that have high demand,” he said.
“With the low admission count in some schools, it is not feasible to appoint permanent teachers there. So we are working on a solution to lessen the burden on the exchequer by planning to relocate the students of five or six of the 22 schools to districts where there is more demand for minority institutions,” he said.
Five or six of the 22 schools are in Bengaluru, while others are in Kalaburgi, Koppal and Yadgir, among other districts. Raghavendra said the department was exploring ways to increase the demand for such schools. According to department officials, the cost for running such schools is around Rs 100 crore.
The department has also requested the government to double the teaching posts in the 200 schools to 1,600. Though 600 teachers were recruited this year, only 380 of them joined. Some of them have sought transfers or applied for Karnataka Administrative Services posts. As a result, only 89 schools have permanent headmasters and teachers and the rest have guest teachers.
Besides, the department, which also runs 134 Morarji Desai Residential Schools, has identified 31 schools in every district to be affiliated to the CBSE.