An IAS officer in Gujarat has claimed students of some primary schools in Chhotaudepur district cannot even read a word or do simple mathematical calculations, promoting the state education department to seek a report on it from authorities.
Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Dhaval Patel, serving as the commissioner of geology and mining in Gandhinagar, expressed shock and anguish over the state of education in the tribal-dominated Chhotaudepur district.
In a letter sent to the education department on June 16, Patel termed the education being imparted to tribal children as "rotten" and claimed such education will only ensure the next generation of tribals continues to work as labourers and never progress in life.
State Education Minister Kuber Dindor, who also has charge of the tribal development portfolio as cabinet minister, on Monday said he has sought a report from officials about the observations made by Patel.
"I have asked officials of my department to give a detailed report so that we can make required changes. There are some issues in the remote tribal areas. I also belong to that region. There is lack of awareness even among the parents of students. We will try to make them aware and fill the gaps wherever required," Dindor told reporters at an event in Godhra.
Patel was one of the several IAS officers in the state government who were sent to different districts as part of the 'Shala Praveshotsav' drive to evaluate the overall education scenario in government primary schools assigned to them.
Asked about Patel's observations, Gujarat Minister of State for Education Praful Pansheriya said the purpose of sending IAS officers as well as other senior officials in the field is to find flaws so that they can be corrected.
In the letter sent to education secretary Vinod Rao on June 16, Patel said he visited six different government-run primary schools of the tribal-dominated Chhotaudepur district on March 13 and 14 as part of the 'Shala Praveshotsav' drive.
Patel said he felt guilty after seeing the "extremely low level of education" in five out of six schools.
Recalling his visit to Timla primary school, Patel in the letter said "students of standard-8 were reading every letter of a word separately as they could not read an entire word. They were finding it difficult to do simple mathematical calculations.".
At Bodgam primary school, students could not give antonyms for simple Gujarati words, like "day". Moreover, a girl student of Class-8 could not show where the Himalayas and Gujarat were on the Indian map, Patel mentioned.
"At Wadhwan primary school, the level of education was extremely pathetic. Class-5 students cannot do a simple subtraction of 42 minus 18. They even failed to read questions written in English in their question paper they had attempted earlier. Since everyone had written the correct answer in English, I suspect the teacher might have helped them," observed Patel.
He said except for Rangpur primary school, all other schools that he visited in Chhotaudepur disappointed him.
"I felt guilty when I saw such low level of education in five out of six schools. We are doing injustice to these tribal children by imparting such rotten education," Patel said in the letter.
"We are actually ensuring that the next generation of tribals continues to work as labourers and never progress in life. I wonder how a student cannot do simple addition or subtraction even after spending eight years with us?" he said.