Politicians and academicians in Bhopal have come out in support of the Allahabad high court verdict which asked government employees, people’s representatives and judges to send their children to government-run schools.
Minister of state for school education Deepak Joshi said if the people who sanction funds for setting up of government schools don’t send their children there, it meant that they were aware about efficiency of such schools.
But Joshi was non-committal when asked whether the government would take initiative to implement the decision on its own. “The court decision will have to be studied in right perspective. The context in which the court has passed those directives, if found relevant in our context, they could be implemented,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Allahabad high court had taken a serious note of the poor condition of primary schools in Uttar Pradesh and directed the chief secretary to ensure that the children or wards of government employees, people’s representatives and judges be sent to government schools.
Maintaining that it was the prerogative of parents when it came to selection of schools, Congress MLA and former school education minister Mukesh Nayak said he fully agreed with the court’s concern to improve education standards in government schools. “The court has asked those sections to admit their wards in government schools which, it holds, are responsible for the miserable condition of schools.”
The medium of teaching was a major factor for the preference of private schools, he felt. “A lot of people send their children to private schools only because medium of teaching is English. In addition to improving facilities in public schools, government should start more English medium schools,” he said.
Veteran academician Anil Sadgopal, who works for Shiksha Adhikar Manch and All India Forum on Right to Education, asserted that the court directive was the only way to ensure common education to all.
“When the court says it is necessary that all those receiving money from the public exchequer in any form should send their children to government schools, it means that Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or Right to Education have all failed to produce credible results towards ensuring quality education to all,” he said.
This, he asserted, happened because policy makers overlooked the fact that without establishing a common school system, equal opportunities in education cannot be ensured
Guardians’ Guild convener Prof Zamiruddin said politicians and, more importantly, bureaucrats owe a reply to the country as to why they have been neglecting government schools, hospitals and other facilities with such impunity.
“They don’t go there themselves nor send their children. If the court wants them to feel the depravity of students and teachers in government schools by sending their wards for education, it’s not a bad idea,” he said.