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‘School rationalization prog’: Extreme caution needed to ensure no student suffers, says Mir

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‘Primary schooling should be nearby, if not at the doorsteps of the kids’

Srinagar: Former cabinet Minister and Apni Party Senior Vice President Ghulam Hassan Mir on Thursday said that the rationalization exercise about the government schools should be carried out carefully so that it does not have any disadvantageous results in terms of depriving unprivileged students of their right to education. 

He suggested the government should adopt a cautious approach while implementing its rationalization programme to ensure students in these schools do not face any inconvenience. 

He said, apparently, the government decision to merge low enrolment schools with each other, is a good decision but it should not lead the concerned students to any inconvenience. “Therefore, the exercise should be carried out with extreme caution, and the students, particularly the primary class students, should not suffer because of taking their school away from existing locations. The government must ensure that all the primary level students get their schooling near their homes, if not at their doorsteps.” 

“Many of these children might drop out if they are asked to go to another school a few kilometers away from their homes. It is important that the government takes all the consequences into consideration while implementing the rationalization programme. Also, the government has not come clear about the distance of the school to be merged,” Mir said. 

“The term ‘nearby’ does not explain the exact distance between the schools that are to be merged with each other. He said that a minimum distance needs to be maintained while merging two schools, so that students do not have to suffer by this move. The government has decided that primary schools having less than 15 students, middle schools having less than 30 students, and high schools with less than 50 students be merged with nearby schools to maintain Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) in these government schools,” he said.

Mir suggested that a middle school having less than 30 students should be at least kept intact as a primary school. He said we must not forget that the dominant majority of the students in government schools come from an unprivileged background, and these kids should not be deprived of their basic right to education by any incautious government move. 

He said that there are a lot of complaints that suggest that all the concerned ZEOs have not provided an accurate report about the staff strength and enrollment of the students in the schools situated in the far-flung areas. “The government should recheck the facts on the ground again so that this initiative would not prove disadvantageous.”

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