Cutting across party lines, legislators of both the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have expressed concern over the low quality of education and lack of staff leading to exodus of students from government schools to private ones.
On the other hand, addressing the fifth day of the monsoon session of the assembly, chief minister Virbhadra Singh urged the legislators not to recommend mid-session transfers of teachers.
Replying to a discussion on a private member resolution "To frame a policy to change basic education structure to improve the educational standard" moved by Sarkaghat legislator Inder Singh, Virbhadra said the member had raised a valid issue and everyone spoke well on the issue.
Earlier initiating the debate, Inder Singh said several schools were without teachers in the state, and that the state government was opening more schools irrespective of need.
Former education minister Asha Kumari emphasised upon setting up of model schools. She said while teachers were paid lower in private schools, the quality of education was better, while it was the opposite in government schools.
Joining the discussion, former education minister ID Dhiman raised the issue of transfer of teachers during session. He said government was daily transferring teachers even after mid-session, and the practice should be checked.
CPS Neeraj Bharti said the BJP had a negative approach towards education. He challenged other legislators in the House to admit their wards in government institutions, while stating that he would admit his daughter in Class 1 in a government school next year. He also accentuated upon a policy under which all people related to government should admit their children in government schools. However, the resolution was dropped.
Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Jagat Singh Negi hailed the state government's endeavour to open schools in far-flung areas to provide education.
Kullu legislator Maheshwar Singh said there should be at least two teachers in one government primary school and teachers should not be given non-teaching work.
He hit out at the government for informing the House that prosperity and low infertility rate were responsible for declining enrolment in schools.
Churah legislator Hansraj said several teachers were busy in politics in the name of organisations and remaining absent from schools.
Nadaun legislator Vijay Agnihotri said education should be linked with culture so that students were connected to their roots, adding that each school should be provided non-teaching staff to do non-teaching work.
Chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Nand Lal said recruitment through school management committees was a fair process and very useful to fill vacant posts.
Seraj legislator Jairam Thakur said political leaders who were being invited by schools gave only political speeches that were not good for students. He added that government's focus should be on quality education instead of opening more schools.
'Evaluation needed to maintain standard of education'
The chief minister said evaluation of Classes 5, 8 and 10 was necessary for ensuring standard of education. He added that the state government had been implementing several policies and schemes to ensure quality education.
The National Curriculum Framework 2005 was implemented in the state and syllabus of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had been adopted from Class 6 to 12, and syllabus of Classes 1 to 5 had been designed as per the National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005), he said.
The CM also said educational and other qualifications of teachers were being ensured as per the parameter of the National Council for Teacher Education. He added that several schemes, including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhymik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), were being implemented in the state with assistance from the Centre.
He also said education department had filled up 13,568 posts of teachers, including 9,522 through recruitment and 4,014 through promotion. He also informed the House that 9.59 lakh students were enrolled in all educational institution across the state that included 4.78 lakh girls.