TRS Govt shutting down over 1K primary schools every year: Congress

TRS Govt shutting down over 1K primary schools every year: Congress
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The Congress party on Friday accused the TRS Government of shutting down more than 1,000 primary schools in Telangana every year ever since it came to power.

Hyderabad: The Congress party on Friday accused the TRS Government of shutting down more than 1,000 primary schools in Telangana every year ever since it came to power.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Official Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin alleged that the TRS Government has completely ruined the public education system, especially primary schools. He said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao was giving lot of hype to a few hundred residential schools, but hiding the fact that his government was shutting down thousands of primary schools on one pretext or the other. "There were 28,822 government schools in 2013-2014 at the time of Telangana formation. They got reduced to 26,040 in 2018-19. It is now planning to shut down 4,000 more schools. Can TRS Govt justify the permanent closure of these schools?" he asked.

Citing the latest report of District Information System for Education (DSIE), Nizamuddin said that the enrolment in government schools has reduced by more than 1 lakh in just three years. But the enrolment in private schools has increased significantly. There were 22.87 lakh students in government schools in the year 2014-15. But their number got reduced to 21.72 lakh in 2016-17 registering a decrease by 114,739. The official figures for 2017-18 and 2018-19 are not yet made public and therefore, the number of drop-outs might be much higher, he said. Similarly, he said the enrolment in Madarsas and Unrecognised Schools has come down from 69,082 in 2014-15 to 34,972 in 2016-17 registering a decrease by 34,110. However, the enrolment in private schools during this period has increased by 47,631. "Even if we consider that some students might have joined private schools, as many as 101,218 students have gone missing from the primary education system," he said.

Nizamuddin questioned the silence of TRS Government on missing of more than 1 lakh students from the education system. Further, he said that the rise in enrolment in private schools was due to closure of government schools. "Where have these students gone? Have they migrated to other States or discontinued their studies? Is it not a serious issue for concern?

The Congress leader pointed out that in 2015-16, the Telangana Government was rapped by Supreme Court for Zero Enrolment in 398 primary schools. There were just 1-10 students in 980 schools and only 11-20 students in 2,333. "Instead of improving the conditions in government schools to increase enrolment, TRS Government is now planning to close down more than 4,000 schools citing less enrolment as the reason," he said.

Nizamuddin also alleged that the TRS Government was not serious in improving public education, especially primary education. "State Government has no funds to spend on school buildings or recruit teachers and pay them salaries. Therefore, it is closing down schools to adjust existing teachers in other schools," he said while quoting figures from a report of Reserve Bank of India "A Study of Budgets of 2017-18 and 2018-19 which shows that Telangana was on bottom of 29 States and also two Union Territories in terms of 'Expenditure on Education - As Ratio to Aggregate Expenditure'.

He said the State Government has cut down expenditure on education every year. The expenditure was 11.2% in 2014-15; 10.9% in 2015-16; 9% in 2016-17 and 8.3% in 2017-18. He said Telangana was the only State with single-digit spending on education. "KCR has money to construct new a house for himself called Pragathi Bhavan, modern MLA Quarters, new Secretariat and Assembly buildings, but TRS Govt is not having money to spend on education," he said.

"According to DISE data, as on September 2014, Telangana had a total of 43,861 schools, including private aided and unaided schools. But, on an average, every year more than one thousand schools were permanently shut down by TRS Govt," he alleged.

Nizamuddin said that the previous Congress Government had given a huge boost to education sector from 2004-2014. Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarships, Fee Reimbursement, Mid Day Meal and other benefits were given to encourage enrolment, not only in primary schools but also in higher education. Poor students were given the required support to ensure that they get quality education at free of cost. Even students of private institutions were helped in such a way that even higher education was highly affordable. However, the entire education system got ruined ever since TRS came to power in 2014.

"TRS came to power on the promise of providing free 'KG to PG' education. However, by shutting down thousands of primary schools, CM KCR is cutting down the first link 'KG' to disable poor students from rising up to 'PG' level," he said while demanding the State Government to take immediate steps to stop closure of existing schools and measures on war footing basis to revive closed schools. He said that the Congress party would not tolerate dismantling of public education system by the TRS Government.

Hyderabad City Congress Committee (Minorities Dept) Chairman Sameer Waliullah was also present in the press conference.

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