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4 chapters of all subjects in one book to reduce schoolbag weight, says Rajasthan minister Dotasara

Rajasthan school education minister Govind Singh Dotasara says the state government is beginning an experiment in one school in every district to reduce the weight of school bags by making one book of four chapters of each subject.

education Updated: Aug 12, 2019 18:46 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan education minister Govind Dotasara.
Rajasthan education minister Govind Dotasara.(Prabhakar Sharma/HT photo)
         

Rajasthan school education minister Govind Singh Dotasara says the state government is beginning an experiment in one school in every district to reduce the weight of school bags by making one book of four chapters of each subject. In an interview to Rakesh Goswami of Hindustan Times, the minister said the government will change the curriculum in the next session on the basis of a report by educationists to suit the requirement of the students and not of political parties. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:

You are planning to reduce the weight of school bags, tell us how.

We are doing an experiment. Four chapters of all subjects will be compiled into one book so that the students have to carry only one book for two months, and another for next two months and so forth. The idea is to reduce the bag weight by making them carry only those chapters that are being currently taught. Piramal Foundation is providing the financial assistance for the experiment. We will give them spare textbooks and they will provide the new books to students of one school in every district on an experimental basis. We will then study the change, its benefits or problems due to it. If students and parents react positively to the experiment, we will extend it to all schools in the state. Work on the project has begun and the new books shall be available to test schools soon.

Talking about textbooks, you have also changed a lot of them, largely reversing changes brought in by the previous BJP government.

We have formed committees of educationists to suggest changes in the curriculum. The previous government did not do that. The former education minister told department officials in a workshop at Shiksha Sankul that the textbooks should be on the lines of Vidya Bharti, an affiliate of the RSS. They wanted RSS curriculum in the schools. We cannot push our ideology through textbooks into the children’s minds. It was a wrong practice. We will keep textbooks out of politics. If the Congress pushed its ideology through textbooks, Modi ji would never have become the prime minister.

But tomorrow if BJP is again back in power, won’t they change the textbooks again?

We will make sure that doesn’t happen.

How?

We will see. We will make some changes to prevent frequent changes in textbooks. We need to figure out how we will do that but rest assured, we will leave no room for change in curriculum to suit political ideologies. Government is trustee of schools; students should be taught what is beneficial for them and not what is beneficial for a particular party.

You have opened 33 English medium schools, one in each district. Are you planning to open more?

We will open more English medium schools in 167 blocks, which have neither a Vivekanand Model School nor a Rajasthan board English medium school. After districts, we want to open one in each block but will not venture into the 123 blocks where Vivekanand model schools are operating. The UPA government proposed these CBSE board model schools in 183 blocks but the NDA government closed the scheme after opening in 123 blocks. For the RBSE English medium schools, we have made special selections of teachers and given Rs 1.15 lakh to each school for development of infrastructure.

What steps have you taken to attract more students to government schools?

There’s been a rush for admission to English mediums schools. This means there’s demand for government schools; we only need to live up to people’s expectations. Government schools face two problems: one, they lack subject teachers and second, there is problem with infrastructure. We are working on both. There is a craze for English medium schools. Even the poor want to send their children to such schools. We will allow children whose family annual income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh under RTE in our schools from the next session. Currently this limit is Rs 1 lakh. We want more poor students to get access to quality education.

Tell us about bal sabha that you have started.

The experiment of bal sabhas has been extremely fruitful. This has ensured community participation in schooling. People feel they have an opportunity for social audit of schools. Because of this, our schools have raised Rs 10 crore through crowdfunding and got Rs 158 crore through CSR funds. In last government, the highest CSR contribution was Rs 85 crore.

We often see teachers roaming around in Jaipur for their transfers and postings. They are crowding the minister’s bungalow or meeting officers in the Secretariat. How do you plan to prevent that?

This is true; often teachers are in Jaipur during school timings. We have issued a circular that no teacher can meet minister or officials without taking leave from duty. Teachers are selected to teach the students and not for making rounds of Jaipur for their transfers. Moreover, the CM has already announced an online module of requests for transfers; they should come through that so that teaching doesn’t suffer.

First Published: Aug 12, 2019 18:29 IST

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