Our FPJ state correspondent Avdhesh Mallick spoke to Chhattisgarh School Education Minister Dr. Premsai Singh Tekam. Here are the excerpts from the exclusive interview:
Why is the Government bringing a Child Friendly budget this time and what are your expectations?
Children are the future of any family, society or state and ours is a tribal-dominated developing state. Thus, we must welcome that the Bhupesh Baghe-led government is going to present a Child-Friendly Budget this time. As a School Education Minister, I think this time the volume of the budget especially of my department will be larger than the previous budget. I wanted all the children of Chhattisgarh will get better, scientific, improved, and quality education and to meet these you need a special budget.
As a Minister what new steps do you have taken in the field of school education?
You know there is lesser admission in government schools. People wanted their children to get an education in English like the reputed private institutions. Even government staffs complained as there is no English School available in their area so transfer them into the city for the sake of their children's future. Therefore, the government has initially started 52 government English schools all supervised by District Collectors. We have planned to increase its number up to 100 in near future. Apart from it we are running Model Schools, Eklavya Vidyalays, free coaching and others for the school students.
What is the status of implementation of RTE in the state? How are you resolving the parent’s grievances towards fee hike by private educational institutions?
We are doing very well in implementation of the ‘Right To Education Act’ is concerned. Right now more than 2.5 lakh BPL students are reaping benefits from this scheme. We expect, against 81747 seats around 301316 students will apply for admission this time also. We have also made online payment to private schools. However, the number of students and seats vary every year. We have formed a special committee of experts, parents, representatives from school management and other stakeholders to monitor fee hike in schools so there is nothing to worry.
Due to naxal violence 300 schools shut down in the insurgency hit Bastar division?
More than 26 schools were reopened in 2019, and you know then after during the corona pandemic situation worsened. Despite threats and difficulties, we are still trying to strengthen school education in the Bastar area and adopted new policy. We are providing preference to locals in the appointment, even the construction of school buildings. Concept is clear that if they build and manage there are less chances of destruction.
How have you tackled this corona crisis? When will schools open?
Covid19 crisis is a global problem. Despite tight budget and limitations, we focused on innovative ways of education. We developed Padhai Tunhar Dwar (Education at your doorstep), imparted online education to 3.77 lakh children. Recently, Niti Ayog appreciated the initiative and received a national award from the Computer Society of India for the innovation. However, opening of school is concerned it will be decided in the cabinet meeting held on February 13.