Even as it is clear that 23 SAS Nagar schools with less than 20 students continue to function as mere dummy schools than real centres of education, the state government and the administration seem reluctant to implement its stated policy of merging these institutions. Consequently, the state exchequer continues to bleed even as there is no visible improvement in the standard of education.
WHY THE INACTION?
Pure vote bank politics seems to be at play behind the continuation of schools like with one teacher, one school as highlighted by HT in its report on Sunday. Local leaders, SAS Nagar MLA and the minister oppose the implementation of this scheme.
When contacted, Punjab education minister, Daljeet Singh Cheema said: “Most panchayats requested us not to merge schools and assured us that they will ensure that students will enrol here. However, we will conduct survey and if required, will merge the schools. I am looking into the issue of a single school, single teacher and will ensure that the school is merged.”
Congress leaders have been critical of this lack of implementation of the policy.
In March 2013, the government decided to merge schools, where either the number of students was very less or there were a number of schools within a 1-km radius.
The department identified 1,380 schools, but finally decided to close down only 700 schools with the consent of officers of education department.
The policy also mandated that the schools being closed will be shifted to adjoining government schools and about 1,000 teachers working here would be adjusted in the schools on need basis.
Local Congress MLA, Balbir Singh Sidhu said: “For the last eight years, the standard of education has fallen. It is inexplicable that the state government is going for new schools and not paying any attention to existing schools. It is shameful. The students are suffering.”