Karnataka wants all state employees to send their children only to govt schools

The HD Kumaraswamy government wants to make it mandatory for state government officials to send their children to government schools in a bid raise the quality of education and facilities provided in these institutions, according to Karnataka’s minister for primary education.
The move is based on a September 2017 report by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) on strengthening government schools.(Picture for representation)
The move is based on a September 2017 report by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) on strengthening government schools.(Picture for representation)
Published on Aug 29, 2018 11:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bengaluru | By

The HD Kumaraswamy government wants to make it mandatory for state government officials to send their children to government schools in a bid raise the quality of education and facilities provided in these institutions, according to Karnataka’s minister for primary education.

“We are considering bringing in a policy on the basis of a report to encourage enrolment in government schools,” N Mahesh said, adding that the government is looking at the legal implications of such a proposal.

“By making government employees enrol their wards in government schools, we hope to make them stakeholders in the betterment of these schools,” he said.

However, Mahesh said he was not very sure of the legal implications of such a move and if it would stand in a court of law. “We have asked for legal opinion to ensure that we do not go against some judgments of the Supreme Court, where it held that state governments cannot dictate choice of school of the children. We are looking at ways to overcome this,” he said.

The move is based on a September 2017 report by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) on strengthening government schools. The report suggests that “those who draw a salary from the government have to mandatorily send their children to government schools and not private ones. And there should be a provision to punish those who flout this rule”. The objective, according to the report, is to ensure higher standards of education and better facilities in government schools.

From a legal perspective, constitutional law expert Alok Prasanna Kumar said, it was necessary to see what sort of measures the government would use to ensure compliance with the rule.

“Government employees do not enjoy all the rights that other citizens do. And, hence, I do not see any legal hurdles to the policy,” he said.

Kumar said the key in this instance would be the measures the government would use to ensure that the employees followed the rules. “These could be positive or negative reinforcements, in which case we would have to see if they adhered to the policy’s intent,” he added.

However, 24 other recommendations made in the report — including allowing for 25% reservations for economically disadvantaged students in private schools — are not being taken up by the government at this time, according to KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah.

“This was one of 25 recommendations we had made. But I suppose a start has to be made somewhere,” he said.

Multiple reports in the state, by government agencies and independent researchers, have pointed out the poor condition of government schools. According to one survey conducted in 2017-18 by the Department of Public Instruction, which HT has accessed, there are 5,525 government primary schools in the state that have requested for funds to completely reconstruct their buildings.

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