Dehradun: Unable to make teachers go to the government schools in the interiors and upper reaches of this small hill state and not being able to finalize a policy under which local educated youth living in the immediate vicinity could be given the teaching jobs, the Uttarakhand government has decided to close over 1750 schools.
Though the schools are being closed on the plea that they have ten or less children studying in them and a merger exercise will be undertaken so that one school caters to two or three villages in the immediate vicinity of each other and they will have an appropriate strength of students to justify their existence, the authorities are tight-lipped on the increase in distance to the schools.
The schools had been opened in the hilly regions of the state keeping in view the need of providing education at the doorsteps to the small children. As distances can be a reason for small children dropping out, it was felt that efforts be made to keep it at the minimum with a view to ensure that all children go to school and the state achieves 100 per cent literacy.
However, over the years there has been a gradual decrease in the number of children attending government schools in the interiors and higher reaches, which has given the government the option of closing all such schools with less than ten students, as it has been unable to make arrangements for teachers. The plea is that merging the students will solve both the problem of no teachers and less students.
Though people in the know claim that one of the main reasons why the rate of drop-outs in increasing in the government schools is lack of teachers, officials however, claim that migration of people from the hills to the plain areas of the state in search of greener pastures is the cause.” As villages in the upper and higher reaches are getting empty, there are no children for the schools”, they added.
Asked why in the plain areas of the state also the strength of students in the government schools was falling, officials were of the view that in such areas there is an attraction for private and English medium schools, even though their standards may be questionable.