The Congress-led Democratic Front Government in the state,which cries hoarse over its commitment to the downtrodden,has missed its deadline of starting 100 residential schools for Scheduled Caste (SC) students on June 1 even as the new academic year has commenced.
The construction of these schools had been initiated four years ago,with an aim to encourage students in rural areas to attend school and thereby reduce the dropout percentage. It was decided to start residential schools aided by the government,considering the distances required to be travelled to go to school daily. Accordingly,100 schools were planned 24 in Amravati revenue division,21 in Pune,14 in Nagpur,13 in Latur,12 in Aurangabad,12 in Nashik and four in Mumbai region.
Despite an announcement that the schools would commence for the 2011-12 academic year on June 1,the whole project mired in red tape is incomplete. Officials claimed that 44 residential schools had been constructed. Of these,17 are in Amravati,nine in Latur,seven in Aurangabad,six in Nashik,three in Nagpur and two in Pune. The cost of constructing each of these schools is Rs 4 crore.
Not even a single student has been admitted to any of these schools and the officials are still struggling to appoint teachers and staff,besides providing furniture and other amenities. We will begin with starting three classes in each of the 44 schools,from class V to class VII in the first phase,for which we have released advertisements locally (to invite students), said Dinesh Waghmare,secretary,Department of Social Justice. We hope to start these schools on July 1.
He pointed out that though the Marathi medium schools were primarily meant for SC students,the percentage of SC students to be admitted would be 80,with the rest from other categories.
Sources said one of the reasons for the delay in appointment of teachers and staff was the recruitment ban of the state government imposed on June 5 last year for a year. The ban has been lifted for making appointments to such schools.
The government had also embarked on a simultaneous plan of constructing 100 hostels for SC students at district places. Of these,officials claim that 72 have been constructed.