Shimla: To reform the education system and bring about qualitative changes, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal asked for setting up a Vidhan Sabha committee that could look into reasons why the state was falling behind in quality of education being imparted
Intervening during question hour, the chief minister said that where as there were many educational institutions functioning in the state and the literacy levels achieved had been lauded but we are falling behind on qualitative education.
He said that having a teaching background, he understood that to create a competitive environment for children, a minimum student strength in the classroom was a requisite.
Providing infrastructure for primary and middle schools that had student strengths less than 30 was not only a wastage of resources but was proving an obstacle for improving quality of education, he said.
The chief minister suggested that where student strength was low, children from such schools could be shifted to nearby institutions and the affected students could be provided a travelling allowance or even provided a pick-up and drop transport facility.
Seeking the oppositions support on the issue, he said that setting up a Vidhan Sabha committee would enable reaching a consensus and help to focus on quality education.
Earlier, education minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman in response to a question by Surinder Bhardwaj of congress stated that there were as many as 494 government primary schools and 29 middle schools which had a total strength of less than 20 students.
It was costing the state exchequer a lot to keep these institutes operational, he said.
The education minister said that there were 10,723 primarys and 4343 middle schools in the state of which 1502 primary and 86 middle schools were functioning with a single teacher only.
He assured the house that recruitment process for filling vaccant posts was on and efforts to provide more teachers in these schools were being made.
In response to another question the minister proposed that the government was even willing to open a school providing quality science education around a cluster of other schools.
Hostel facility and traveling allowance could be provided for running such schools where quality education in all streams of science subjects could be provided.
In response to the contentious issue of PTA teacher recruitments, education minister disclosed that over 3000 complaints of irregularities in the recruitment process had been received by the department and after holding inquires 977 teachers were disqualified.
No PTA teacher had been sacked and only the government grant in aid for the disqualified teachers had been stopped, said Dhiman. The government till date had provided Rs 21.82 crore as grants for the PTA teachers, he said.