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Himachal govt to close 286 schools with low enrolment

News Agencies | Updated on: 5 March 2023, 18:57 IST
low enrolment schools

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to close the institutions with a low enrolment of students.

The state education department has identified and decided to shut down 286 primary and high schools with zero enrolment of students in different parts of the state. The staff of these schools would be shifted to the other schools, said Himachal Pradesh Education Minister Rohit Thakur on Sunday

"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 said.

"Out of the 920 institutions opened by the BJP government "just to seek votes" were reviewed by the state government and out of these institutions there are nearly 320 schools at different levels and keeping the liberal approach the congress government has set an enrolment even below the set parameters and will not be denotified if these schools fulfill the criterion. He said 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 needed nor functional. Thakur said that the staff of the closed institutes would be shifted to other schools with a shortage of staff.

"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 Asked about BJP stating that they will soon form the government in Himachal Pradesh he said BJP was daydreaming to topple the Congress government in the state and there is no harm in dreaming. He said the previous BJP government was dreaming to be in power for 25 to 50 years and the people of the state had given a reply to them in the Assembly elections.

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"During the five years of the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh the governance has completely shattered and there was a complete failure in the state in each department including education. The financial condition of the state is in bad shape and there is a debt of Rs 75,000 crore direct debt and Rs 11,000 crore are other debt which includes the arrears and DA pending of employees and pensioners in the state. The BJP had been talking about coming back to power and continuing in the government in the state for 25 to 50 years but the people of the state have shown them the face," Thakur said.

First published: 5 March 2023, 18:57 IST