A penny for these schools in the school hub of Asia

Dehra Dun : This capital city of Uttarakhand boasts of some of the best schools of not only the country but the world, and institutions like The Doon School, Welham Boys and Welham Girls have put it on the world map of education. But quality education is perhaps limited to only a few haves, while much leaves to be desired of the other schools in this small mountain state.

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Relaying his cup of woes over the budget of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for the state being slashed from the proposed Rs 848 crores to Rs 367 crores for the financial year 2013-14, education minister Mantri Prasad Naithani made it clear to the union human resources minister that lack of dunds would be an impediment in implementing the guidelines of Right to Education.
Appealing to the centre that being mountain state, Uttarakhand be treated at par with the north eastern states in financial aid, he said that it should be given grant on thje 90:10 pattern which is done in the case of the north eastern states. He recalled that it was because of this that Uttarakhand had been given the special industrial package by the NDA government headed by Vajpayee.[/box]

Asserting that the huge cut in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan budget was creating problems for the department in the state, Mantri said that the minimum necessary appointment of teachers could not be done, because of which new educational institutions both at the primary and secondary level could not be opened.

He said that the government was facing difficulty in construction of toilets even in the girls schools and for girls in the co-educational schools, which was required as per the norms of Right to Education. “We are facing problems for constructing even the extra required class rooms and making necessary provisions for children with special abilities”, he added.
Admitting that the reduction of the budget would hit the quality of education being provided to the children in Uttarakhand, the minister said that many of the buildings housing the schools were ina dilapidated condition and it was almost impossible to ensure the safety of the children studying in these schools.

Meanwhile to ensure that they provide quality education to the children studying in their schools, St Thomas College and the Common Residential Schools have obtained a stay from the Nainital High Court against an order of the Chief Educational Officer, directing that all students studying from classes one to eight be passed and poor children be given admission to the schools.

In their petition in the Uttarakhand High Court, they had pleaded that the schools are not receiving any financial or other aid from the government and the Supreme Court had given them the status of minority educational institutions and as such the Right to Education could not be implemented in these schools.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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