The state government has put on hold its plan to shut the model schools in the backward districts of the state after Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s intervention in the matter on Tuesday.
Model schools have been operational in tribal-dominated districts like Gadchiroli, Nashik, Thane, Dhule, Nandurbar, Beed, Parbhani since 2011-12 to impart English-medium education to economically backward students. The new NDA government had listed model schools among the centrally-sponsored schemes to be discontinued in the wake of increased allocation to states. The idea was that the states could continue the schemes, if they wanted.
- Severe drought declared in 112 talukas in Maharashtra
- Maharashtra: Devendra Fadnavis declares 182 talukas drought-prone
- What does the recent SC judgment on Aadhaar mean for people in Nandurbar?
- Maharashtra govt working on model to help farmers fetch MSP in open market
- Bid to tackle regional disparity and low human index: Government development model to focus on 10 backward districts
- Bhaskar Munde made Human Development Commissioner
Thereafter, 43 model schools in the state were to be phased out from the current academic year. The government was planning to stop admissions to Class VI and to allow the current batches of Class VII to XII to pass out over the next few years.
In Gadchiroli, there are five model schools, one each in Dhanora, Etapalli, Alapalli, Bhamragarh and Sironcha, having over 400 students. “The parents of the students who wanted admission to the schools had started an agitation because these were the only low-cost English medium schools available to them. The schools had the best of teachers drawn from ZP schools,” said social activist Paromita Goswami of Shramik Elgar. She had led a delegation of parents and students to Mumbai on the invitation of the governor to discuss the issue, after writing to the government requesting intervention. “That the parents and the children want to study in English medium schools is a remarkable aspiration in the state’s most backward districts. So, why should their aspiration not be respected?” Goswami asked.
On Tuesday, Governor Rao heard the delegation and immediately asked the state government to reconsider the decision in favour of the agitating parents and students. “We also met Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar who immediately called a meeting with Gadchiroli MP Ashok Nete, two local MLAs and Principal Secretary of Education Department Nand Kumar and assured that the schools would continue and admissions to standard VI would be done,” Goswami said.
Nand Kumar told The Indian Express that one of the problems with the schools was that the teachers were paid half the salaries that teachers in other schools got. “We will discuss the issue with the Gadchiroli ZP CEO. If they don’t have a problem running the schools, we also have no problem,” he said.