The Andhra Pradesh government is hoping to increase enrollment in government schools and reduce drop-outs by distributing school kits to students from class 1 to 10.
The kit comprises cloth to get three pairs of uniforms stitched, a pair of black shoes, two pairs of socks, text books, notebooks, a belt and a bag.
“The kit will prepare the student for the new academic year, every year. Earlier, many students would drop out of school as their parents were unable to purchase uniforms, textbooks and notebooks. This kit will help low income households a lot,” Education Minister A Suresh said.
The distribution of these kits began Thursday at Punapadu government school in Krishna district. Officials said that 42,34,322 kits would be distributed across the state at an estimated cost of Rs 650 crore before schools reopen. Andhra Pradesh has 38,532 zilla and mandal praja parishad schools, 2,103 municipal schools and 633 state government-run schools.
“There was full transparency in the purchase of material for the school kits which has undergone reverse tendering and e-procurement to ensure that there is no scope for corruption,” a government official said.
Schools in Andhra Pradesh were scheduled to reopen in the first week of October, but the date has now been pushed forward. The government also wants to introduce English medium at the primary level in all government schools when they reopen.
School Education Department officials said the government is counting on other measures, too, to ensure that there are fewer drop-outs. These include the mid-day meal scheme and the amma vodi scheme under which the state transfers Rs 15,000 per year to women from socially and economically backward families as an incentive to send children to schools.
The state is also repairing and revamping all government schools in three phases. This exercise will involve repairing crumbling walls and ceilings, building separate toilets for boys and girls in 45,000 government schools, constructing new classrooms, providing furniture and safe drinking water, and securing the schools with compound walls and gates.
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