Shimla: With hundreds of government schools on the verge of closing because of poor infrastructure and no students, the Himachal Pradesh government on Thursday announced incentives to teachers to give good results and hold back students in the government schools. The State cabinet in its meeting here gave the approval to launch the Chief Minister Shikshak Samman Yojna to motivate teachers and headmasters to give better results in the government schools in subjects like Maths, Science and English. The teachers giving hundred percent results for five years will be given extension in service and even the monetary awards.
The strength of students in various primary and middle schools in the hill State is going down. In more than 2050 government schools, mostly opened on political considerations by the government, the total strength of students is less than 15. In more than 300 such schools the number of students are just between 5 to 10. In Mandi district about a dozen schools faced closure since there were no students who came for admissions. The people are withdrawing their children from the government schools because of bad results, poor quality of education and total mismanagement in the education department.
There are less than 15 students in 112 schools out of a total of 149 schools in Lahaul-Spiti.
State Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh who quite often announces either opening up of a new school or upgrading the existing schools, has himself declared that schools with less than 15 students would be closed in future. The opposition has always condemned his irrational policy of opening new schools in rural areas on political grounds and not improving the existing standards of education in the existing institutions.
Despite of free uniforms, books and food in government schools the people here prefer to send their children to private schools because of noncommittal attitude of school teachers and complete negligence of the State education department, complain the majority parents. The school system has not been rationalised by the incumbent government and the education department headed by the Chief Minister. Some of the schools have 3 to 4 students and an equal number of teachers. In some schools, having a good strength, there are no regular teachers and other infrastructure.
The schools teachers here have very strong unions and are a big political pressure group, feel the parents and students.
KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.