Govt. to set up over 7,000 primary schools
By Our Special Correspondent
Moving closer toward the goal of universalisation of elementary education (UEE) and total literacy by 2005, the Government is setting up primary schools in 7,351 habitations which have no such facility within a kilometre and upgrading 4,352 others to stem high drop-out incidence in 200 mandals known for low literacy and even lower rate for females.
This apart, 1130 high schools are being strengthened with additional teachers, 40 new residential schools set up and 32,000 additional trained teachers recruited. The budgetary allocation for school education was up by Rs 640 crores in 2001- 02.Detailing the strategy for 2002-03 and the draft budget for his department at a press meet here on Saturday, the Minister for School Education, Mandava Venkateswara Rao, said they would strive to ensure that a child entering the school in first standard continued till the 10th without dropping out."We are contemplating bringing in a legislation or amend existing laws to facilitate compulsory elementary education,'' he said.
No school would suffer for want of a teacher. Over 1.30 lakh teachers were recruited and if necessary, 25,000 more educational volunteers would be appointed, he said, adding that the teachers would be spared of extraneous responsibilities as far as possible to enable them concentrate on teaching.
"Akshara Sankranti'' to rope in 60 lakh adult illiterates every year was going on very satisfactorily as also "Chaduvukundam'' to wean back one million children into the school stream. About Rs 3500 crores was being allocated every year for school and adult education, but the challenge of providing education to all in the next 5 years called for higher investment, some Rs 900 crores more every year, and steps to mobilise the requisite funds.The UEE programme got a boost with support from Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), a central scheme. The Centre released Rs 46 crores towards the first instalment for 4 non-DPEP districts (Hyderabad, Krishna, East and West Godavari). A sum of Rs 160 crores was being pooled from different sources fopr construction of additional classrooms, compound walls, toilets and drinking water facilities.Mr. Venkateswara Rao said the next year's plan would focus on following areas. Enrolment and retention in 100 UEE mandals, tribal areas with low retention, identification of 50,000 girls for the back-to-school programme, continuous attendance monitoring in all 57,000 schools, 100 bridge and 3000 non-bridge courses.
He said computers would be introduced in 1000 schools in the next academic year and distance education in select high schools apart from close watch on low-result schools. About 1.50 lakh teachers would be trained. Initiatives for adult education would include fresh mobilisation in identified weak districts, selection of 100 villages for cent per cent coverage in each of the weak districts, etc.
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