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Signal school idea came from experience in Karnataka: Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court

The Chief Justice said that signal schools were started to facilitate children of labourers working at key traffic junctions.

Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel and Chief Justice of Gujarat HC Aravind Kumar distribute school bag kit to students during 'Shala Praveshotsav' held for new students of state govt's 'Signal Schools' program at Bodakdev. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

On a day when 139 children from the first batch of “Signal Schools” got enrolled in municipal schools in Ahmedabad city, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar Saturday said the idea to begin schools inside buses at traffic junctions came from a personal experience in Karnataka.

“Let me share with you as to how this idea of Signal Schools came to me. I was the executive chairman of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) while I was the judge of Karnataka High Court. One day while coming to the court, my vehicle stopped at a signal. I saw a small girl with a baby in her arms. She came begging… I wanted to give some money. Suddenly, I remembered that there is an Act which prohibits children from begging,” said Chief Justice Aravind Kumar who accompanied Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel during the induction of the first batch of 139 signal school students into municipal schools at a formal event. The duo also distributed school kits to 10 children at the event held in Ahmedabad’s Bodakdev locality.

During his speech, the Chief Justice further narrated how he stopped his vehicle and enquired about the parents of the child who was begging. It turned out that the child’s parents were working as labourers near a traffic junction in Karnataka.

“I called them (the parents) and asked why you are not sending your child to school. He said they do not have money. So as an executive chairman of KSLSA, I called a meeting of the chief secretary, principal secretary, social welfare department and director of municipal administration and municipal commissioner… When we interacted with the parents, they agreed that if the school is conducted at signals (where the parents work), they will send their children. So, this concept made me start signal schools,” he said, adding that signal schools were started to facilitate children of labourers working at key traffic junctions.

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“After a few months, I was elevated as Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court. When I shared this idea with the chief minister, he readily agreed and we started this programme on March 6, 2022…”

Chief Justice Aravind Kumar said the project was launched jointly by the Government of Gujarat, Gujarat State Legal Services Authority and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation School Board.

Patel who also spoke on the occasion said signal schools will be started across Gujarat. Talking about the improvement in the state’s education system during the last two decades, Patel said the dropout ratio in the state has reduced from 37.22 per cent to 3.39 per cent.

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Patel said Saturday was the second day of “Shala Praveshotsav”. “I have enrollment figures for the last two days, where a total of 1.88 lakh girl children have been enrolled in schools. In these two days, the total enrollment is 3.83 lakh,” he added. The chief minister said the government has also got Rs 80 lakh as donations during these two days.

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First published on: 25-06-2022 at 05:04:46 pm
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