* GIS study to determine shortfalls in school construction in the districts
* Fund request sent to Centre for additiol 500 LP and 318 UP schools
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 10: Faced with the prospect of failing to guarantee free and compulsory elementary education as a fundamental right to all children in Assam, the State government is now belatedly scrambling to make amends. Dispur is now using a geographical information system (GIS) study to identify gaps in setting up adequate number of schools in the districts, as required under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
Under the RTE Act, the distance of a neighbourhood lower primary (LP) school and an upper primary (UP) school from a habitation should be 1 km and 3 km respectively. But many areas in Assam still do not have LP and UP schools located in the neigbourhood, which means children there take extra pains to reach schools located at distant places. Due to this problem, many children prefer not to study in schools, thereby dropping out.
Taking the distance factor into consideration, the State government recently conducted a GIS alysis to determine the requirement of number of additiol LP and UP schools in the prescribed 1 km and 3 km distances from a habitation in different parts of the State.
Based on the findings of the alysis, the State government has decided to set up another 500 LP and 318 UP schools across Assam. The setting up of these additiol schools will help meet the criteria as proposed in the RTE Act.
Among the surveyed districts, Karbi Anglong, Tinsukia, Baska, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Chirang, Kokrajhar, gaon and Sonitpur primarily do not have sufficient numbers of LP and UP schools compared to districts like Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup.
As per the findings, 176 LP and 72 UP schools are needed to be set up in Karbi Anglong district, 46 LP and 26 UP schools in Tinsukia district, 38 LP and 10 UP schools in Baska district, 20 LP and 8 UP schools in Barpeta district, 12 LP and 2 UP schools in Bongaigaon district, 17 LP and 45 UP schools in Cachar district, 12 LP and 13 UP schools in Chirang district, 21 LP and 26 UP schools in Kokrajhar district, 30 LP and 22 UP schools in gaon district, 28 LP and 7 UP schools in Udalguri district, and 19 LP and 18 UP schools are needed to be set up in Sonitpur district.
Jorhat district doesn’t need any more LP schools but one more UP school is needed in the district; one more LP school is needed in Lakhimpur district though no new UP school is needed in the district; 3 more LP schools are needed to be set up in Kamrup (Metro) district while there is no need of more UP schools in the district; 19 more LP and 7 UP schools are needed in Kamrup district, stated the GIS alysis.
As per the RTE Act, the Government of India needs to allocate funds to set up these additiol LP and UP schools in the State. It may also be mentioned that the GIS alysis has been sent by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Assam to the Central government.
Sources said 8,652 posts and 6,812 posts of teachers in LP and UP schools are currently lying vacant respectively all over the State.
Now, the questions are: When will the Central government sanction funds to set up these additiol schools in the State in a phase-wise manner? Will the State government be able to recruit more teachers in these additiol schools when many posts of teachers in the existing schools are lying vacant?