Schools struggle as Centre delays transfer of funds
The government schools in the state are facing severe shortage of funds as the government has not yet released funds for maintenance of schools so far On the other hand, the bank accounts of the school management committees SMCs have been forcibly emptied by the authorities for various expenses like midday meal scheme, making it hard for the headmasters to meet daily needs
Ongole: The government schools in the state are facing severe shortage of funds as the government has not yet released funds for maintenance of schools so far. On the other hand, the bank accounts of the school management committees (SMCs) have been forcibly emptied by the authorities for various expenses like midday meal scheme, making it hard for the headmasters to meet daily needs.
The education department officials claim that they had not received the funds from the Central government until recently and now have started crediting amounts in the accounts of SMCs.
There are 45,720 government schools in the state. School management committees and parent-teacher associations will approve expenditure of them based on the available funds in their accounts.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan used to release school grants up to Rs 20,000 per year and grants of Rs 500 per year to each teacher for books and teaching tools. The schools use these funds for sanitation, repairs, electricity and telephone bills every year.
From 2018-19 academic year, the Central government subsumed the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher education to form Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. The Union government ordered all states to form their respective Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan societies and appoint officers for it and provide their bank accounts to receive the regular funds.
The Central government also increased the composite school grant up to Rs 25000 to Rs 1 lakh, depending on the enrolment apart from releasing up to Rs 20,000 for library and digital classroom expenditures.
The school education department of the state released a memo in May 2018 on the integration of SSA and RMSA to form Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan and appointment of its officers.
The schools were reopened in June this year and the school management committees have been waiting for funds from the Central government for taking up maintenance works. In the meantime, the state government took back all unutilised funds in the accounts of SMCs, making them hard to pay for any expenses. A school headmaster in Ongole said that he was spending money from his salary for the needs of teaching tools, repairs and telephone bills.
Another headmaster revealed that the teachers were bearing the burden of every month on a turn system. Stating that if the money in the SMCs’ accounts was available, they would not have faced such a problem. they allege that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan officials were not telling anything on the funds, except saying that they make the deposits soon.
The schools in the state receive Rs 920 crore for the maintenance every year, which will be shared by the Union and state governments on 60:40 ratio. Gurrala Srinivas, the state project director of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, said that the formation of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan society is complete and they received funds around Rs 560 crore from the Union government recently.
He said that the process of opening new accounts is also complete and they could start transferring the money in two to three days. He also revealed that the funds in the SMC accounts were used by the state government to adjust for the mess bills and salaries of the teachers and they also would be deposited into the school accounts in a week.