Bihar education minister flags SSA funding, KV issues with Pradhan

‘One of the important issues was the funding for teachers’ salary, which is both inadequate and delayed’
Bihar education minister Vijay Choudhary. (Santosh Kumar)
Bihar education minister Vijay Choudhary. (Santosh Kumar)
Published on May 07, 2022 09:11 PM IST
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By, Patna

Bihar education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary has flagged a number of issues related to school education in the state in a meeting with union education minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan, who was in Patna primarily to meet chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said.

Choudhary, who also holds the parliamentary affairs portfolio, was called at CM’s residence after the latter’s closed-door meeting with Pradhan ended. “I don’t know what transpired between the two leaders, but I raised the issues related to school education and Centre’s meagre and delayed funding for the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA). One of the important issues was the funding for teachers’ salary, which is both inadequate and delayed. Under the SSA, the requirement of teachers as per the mandated teacher-pupil ratio is huge and the Centre also accepts that, but the funding remains very low,” he said.

Choudhary said that for a state like Bihar, it becomes difficult as the Centre’s allocation per teacher comes to barely around 15,000 while the state pays 35000-40000. Even the allocated fund arrives late and the state has to make temporary arrangement from its own resources till the funds arrive. “Last year, it was said that Bihar should prioritise filling up of vacant posts of head teachers at upper primary and secondary schools and we are doing it. But we expect commensurate financial assistance,” he said.

Choudhary said that while Bihar was striving for improvement in school education, it would expect the Centre to lend adequate support in the implementation of Right to Education (RTE) and National Education Policy (NEP). “I have also urged the union minister to relax norms for opening Kendriya Vidyalays in Bihar keeping in view the fact that land was hard to find due to extremely high density of population. There is so much pressure on limited land due to growing population that Bihar cannot meet the laid down parameters like Gujarat or Andhra Pradesh. Besides, there should be reservation of local population in the schools so that students from the underprivileged sections of the society could also benefit from quality schools in their areas. Restricting it to only central government staff would lead to a feeling of alienation among the locals,” he said.

Kumar-Pradhanmeeting sparks rumours

Meanwhile, in their meeting, CM Kumar and union minister Pradhan are said to have discussed some vital issues, including the forthcoming Presidential poll, Rajya Sabha elections and contours of the likely changes/additions to the state cabinet, according to BJP leaders.

“What exactly transpired between the two remained between the two, but the impact of Pradhan’s sudden and swift visit could be visible in the days to come,” said a senior BJP leader.

Kumar heads a coalition government in Bihar in which his party JD-U and the BJP are main constituents. After the 2020 assembly elections in the state, BJP’s tally in the state, for the first time, vastly outnumbered that of its old ally JD-U. Though Kumar was made the CM, BJP has since become more assertive and some of its leaders in the state have frequently called for installing one of their own as the chief minister.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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