With a Budget allocation of Rs 172.04 crore for education in the new financial year, there will be more focus on improving basic facilities at city government schools. According to officials from the UT education department, improvement of infrastructure will be topmost on the list of priorities for the education sector in the city, this year.
“Revamping old schools to ensure that there are sufficient classrooms, toilets, ramps for the differently-abled students and laboratories will be our key focus,” said an official from the department. Creating smart classrooms by digitizing the existing ones is another task that is going to be taken up by the department this year. Since not all government schools in the city have kitchens for providing mid-day meals, the department is also going to establish infrastructure and manpower to construct kitchens in government schools across the city.
“There are several schools in the city where there are only a few classrooms. We intend to establish newer buildings at these schools to accommodate students better. Many schools also lack basic sports facilities and do not have playgrounds. As per the plan, we will be revamping the school playgrounds,” said a spokesperson of the education department.
After receiving complaints from city residents over lack of lighting at the playgrounds in 17 government schools set up by the municipal corporation in the city, Education and Finance Secretary Sarvjit Singh has already issued orders to revamp 111 government schools and install floodlights in the school playgrounds.
In addition to this, the education department has also issued orders saying ‘unrecognised’ schools in the city would be shut down in the coming months. Director School Education (DSE) Rubinderjit Singh Brar said that the department was also working on a plan to shift the students, studying in these ‘unrecognised’ schools, to government schools in their vicinity.
For 2016-17, Rs 715.79 crore has been allotted for education, out of which Rs 172.04 crore is for planned head expenses and Rs 543.75 crore for non-planned expenses. A final internal split-up of the allotted budget will, however, be finalised by the education department by the end of March.
In the revised budget for 2015-16, education was allotted Rs 162.01 crore for planned head and Rs 489.13 crore for non-planned expenditure.
In January this year, the Government Model High School, Dhanas II, was inaugurated. It has 40 classrooms, four labs and one ramp for disabled students. Also, four new government schools will be set up in Manimajra, Kishangarh, Sector 48 and Sector 49, this year, increasing the total number of government schools in the city to 115. According to UT officials, construction for Government High School, Sector 48, and Government High School in Pocket No 1, Manimajra, has started.