TIMES NEWS NETWORK, December 14,2017

Source: The Times of India

Pune: The state government’s decision to shut down 1,314 schools across Maharashtra for their low enrolment numbers is being vehemently opposed.

After teachers and school management members protested the decision, political parties and unions have now joined in, demanding a withdrawal of the decision.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sanghatna has said that it is unacceptable that 76 schools in Pune have been added to the shortlist. Kalpesh Yadav of the union shared, “The state government is failing on all aspects of education, including inaction against schools hiking fees and shutting down of Marathi schools. We are going to protest against the government until these decisions are taken appropriately and in everyone’s interest.”

According to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the state can shut schools with less than 20 students. The state education department had

conducted a survey in 2009 but the decision to shut schools had not been implemented. Over 12,000 schools across the state have less than 20 students on the roll, while 5,002 institutes have less than 10 wards.

After reviewing all educational institutes, the department decided that students from primary schools would be shifted to other schools within a kilometre, while secondary school students will be transferred to aschool within 3km.

Shivkant Pupalwad, leader of another teachers’ union, said, “We will protest against the state government’s notification outside the education office on Thursday.” The Akhil Bharatiya Samajwadi Adhyapak Sabha in the state has also decided to stage a protest against the state directorate of education on Thursday.

On December 2, the state government announced that about 1314 schools that have less than 10 students on their rolls would be shut down. Education minister Vinod Tawde said students and teachers from these schools will be shifted to nearby ones and they will not be deprived of quality education and jobs.