Government teachers in Uttarakhand oppose move to club schools

DEHRADUN: A day after TOIreported that the state government is moving ahead with its plan to club schools with less than 10 student strength, government school teachers said that they will oppose the decision.

“Rather than closing schools and clubbing them, student strength needs to be increased in the schools. We are planning an agitation and before that will convey our displeasure in writing to the government/state education department asking them to stall the move. Students from economically weaker sections who are enrolled in private schools under 25% RTE admission provision should instead be enrolled in government schools, that can be an avenue to increase students in state-owned schools,” said Junior high school association’s president, Subhash Chauhan.

Almost 3,000 government schools will come under the ambit of being clubbed. In its initial phase, almost 250 zero-strength schools will face closure by this year-end. The rest of the schools will be closed and clubbed in phases after that.

Digvijay Singh Chauhan, another teacher associated with the Prathmik Shikshak Sangh, said, “Low student strength is not because of a lack of effort on the part of teachers but a failure of the education system. The government and state education department need to find out means to attract students back to the state-owned schools. If schools are closed in the hills or are even clubbed, it might lead to loss of jobs for teachers. Also some students might even drop out if they have to travel long distances to reach school.”
The teachers, however, have no qualms if zero strength schools are shut but for less than 10 strength schools, most said that more options must be tried out to turn the situation around rather than taking this route.
Education minister Arvind Pandey had, earlier, said that the move will not lead to loss of jobs for teachers and schools will be clubbed in a well-planned manner such that students do not have to travel long distances.
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