The project headquarters of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has ordered a probe into the purchase of science kits for government-run upper primary schools after anomalies surfaced from three districts of the state.
The irregularities detected in Allahabad, Unnao and Shahjahanpur may just be the tip of an iceberg and may even lead to a wider scrutiny of procurement of science and maths kits at district level across Uttar Pradesh.
- To be used for satisfying curiosity and clearing doubts of students.
- Teachers should ensure that the students are well-versed with names and use of every device/equipment in the kit.
- Kits will be used by students only in the presence of teacher.
- One room to be designated as ‘science lab’ in every junior high school while every Kasturba Gandhi School to have maths activity corner.
- Chart paper, poster, general knowledge info, names of scientists and their inventions should be displayed on the walls of the science lab.
Project director of SSA Vedpati Mishra has set up a three-member probe teams each for the three asking it to submit its report after checking documents and visiting schools and offices.
For Allahabad, the three-member probe panel is being led by divisional assistant director (basic shiksha), Allahabad, Ramesh Kumar Tiwari. The members of this panel include SSA expert Shikha Shukla and senior auditor in finance department of SSA Sanjeev Mehrotra. The team has been asked to submit its report by May 25.
The SSA ordered for probe after the headmasters of state-run upper primary schools alleged that the officials of education department were violating guidelines.
The headmasters said the block education officers were preventing them from purchasing kits and were forcing them to hand over cheques to them. They alleged that the block education officers were handling the procurement process after receiving kickbacks.
Last year, the state government had released Rs 42.53 crore to purchase science and maths kits for 52,980 junior high schools as well science kits for 745 Kasturba Gandhi residential schools in Uttar Pradesh.
The government’s move aimed at helping students grasp the concepts of these subjects. The procurement of kits had to be completed by September 30.
Releasing the budget as part of the learning enhancement programme, the state project director of SSA had issued orders for kits from approved firms already listed on the official website of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
A total amount of Rs 42.38 crore (Rs 8,000 per school) was released for the purchase of science kits while Rs 14.17 lakh (Rs 1,900 per school) was released for maths kit.
All basic shiksha adhikaris (BSAs) were also instructed to set up five-member committees comprising school management committee’s president and secretary besides science or maths teacher and two active parents, including a woman, in every school. These committees were responsible for procurement of kits and its proper use.