Shimla: The state education department has identified and decided to shut down 286 primary and high schools with zero enrolment of students across the state.
"The staff of these schools would be shifted to the other schools with zero staff or shortage of staff." said Himachal Pradesh Education Minister Rohit Thakur.
"There has been a bad condition of the education system in the state during five years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governance. The fact-finding reports of ASAR (Annual Status of Education Report) and also the Performance Grading Index conditions are not good. There are over 3,000 schools where we have only a single teacher in primary school and over 12,000 posts of teaching and non-teaching staff are lying vacant," Thakur said.
The Minister said there are 286 schools functioning where there are zero enrolments in schools including 228 primary schools and 56 middle schools. He said the state government has decided to close these schools and the staff would be shifted to schools with a shortage. There are vacancies of over 12,000 teaching and non-teaching staff in the schools in the state, Thakur added.
920 institutes (opened by the BJP government) were reviewed by the state government and out of these institutions there are nearly 320 schools at different levels and while keeping the liberal approach the congress government has set an enrolment even below the set parameters and will not be de-notified if these schools fulfill the criterion. The schools with zero enrolment will be shut from the new academic session.
"For these 320 institutions we have fixed a number, the Primary schools with a strength of over 10 students will not be closed, middle schools with a strength of 15 students will be functional, The High Schools with a number of 20 schools will not be denotified and a maximum number of students to remain functional for Senior Secondary School has been fixed at 25. We have kept a liberal idea on it and have fixed the number for these 320 schools even below the basic parameters," Thakur told ANI.
He said that certain parameters are set by the education department to shut down the institutions.
"As far as the parameters for the functioning of the schools in the state are concerned we have a parameter on the basis of the survey done by the education department in the state. For Primary schools it is mandatory for 25 students enrolment mandatory, for High school it is 40 and for Senior Secondary it is 60. We will also keep in mind that on a need basis, the schools will be opened but there will not be any political parameter for it. The need of the hour is to provide a quality of education and job-based education in the state," the Minister added.
As far as technical education is concerned, Thakur said the previous government had opened 18 institutions, the present government has kept 13 functional but five including pharmacy colleges have been closed as they were neither required nor functional.
"We will have to do the rationalization. There was a school at Nankhari in Shimla district where the student enrolment was two and the teachers were five. So we shall rationalise and as far as the students below 10 in a school is concerned we shall arrange transport for those students to nearby schools and the department is working on calculating the number of all such institutions to be closed in future," said Thakur.
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