The Allahabad High Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary to work out the modalities, within six months, to ensure that all government servants send their children to primary schools run by the state basic education board. The list includes members of the judiciary, government officials, semi-government employees, employees of local bodies and representatives of people.
A single judge bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal passed the order on Tuesday, a copy of which was released today. Stating that its order should become operational from the next session, the court has sought a compliance report within six months.
“The chief secretary, UP government, is directed to take appropriate action in the matter in consultation with other officials responsible in this regard to ensure that the children/ wards of government servants, semi-government servants, local bodies, representatives of people, judiciary and all such persons who receive any perk, benefit or salary etc from the state exchequer or public fund, send their child/ children/ wards who are in the age of receiving primary education to primary schools run by the board,” said the court.
The court said there should be penal provisions to ensure that such persons are “compelled necessarily” to send their children to these primary schools. As an illustrative example, the court said such persons would be forced to contribute an amount equal to the fee paid in private schools. This money could be used to improve the basic infrastructure of primary schools, it said.
It said this would ensure that the officials concerned become aware of the problems at the basic education level. Otherwise, the court said, they would not care as they have access to private education.
“It will also boost social equation. It will give an opportunity to children of common men to interact and mix with children of so-called high or semi-high society, giving them a different kind of atmosphere, confidence and other opportunities. This would give a boost and bring revolution in changing society from grassroot level,” it said.
“It is not difficult to understand why the condition of these schools have not improved… There is no real involvement of administration with these schools. Any person who has some capacity and adequate finances sends his child/ children to elite and semi-elite primary schools, whether it is the district collector or the police chief or any other government servant,” it said.
The court passed the order while disposing of a bunch of petitions pertaining to appointment of assistant teachers in junior primary schools and senior primary schools. The petitioners had challenged various rules and amendments made in the recruitment process for these teachers.
The court blamed the “lack of accountability and casual approach” on the part of officials of the basic education department for the “mindless, negligent, casual amendments in rules.”
“A competition is going on for political reasons to make lakhs of vacancies available in primary schools as a source to create committed voters by appointing persons, if not illiterate, but not really competent to teach children of primary school,” the court said.