BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 21: If provincialized schools continue to perform below expectation, mainly in terms of results, these would be de-provincialized in due course, warned State Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during a discussion in the House today.
Replying to a question on the issue raised by Congress MLA Abdul Khalek who drew the attention of the Education minister, Sarma said the government has no other option but to de-provincialize under-performing provincialized schools, as it has been observed that after provincialization of many schools under the Provincialisation Act amended in 2011, teachers of many such schools were found to be lax in their duty, which is ‘not acceptable at any cost’.
In his statement, Khalek told the Education minister that the rest of the non-provincialized schools soon need to be provincialized as well, and those schools which are yet to come under the Provincialisation Act should be given fincial assistance by the State government.
Sarma in turn replied that the process of de-provincialization of under-performing provincialized schools would be set in motion after amendment of the said Act.
The Education minister further said that a note mentioned in the file of school provincialization by the previous State government stated that the whole process of provincialization should be based on provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. “Due to this note, we are facing problems. As per RTE Act, teachers must be TET qualified. But venture schools across the State have not TET qualified teachers,” Sarma pointed out, adding, “we are also facing problems due to the RTE Act provision that one LP school should be there in 1 km radius and an ME school in 3 km radius. We already have such schools across the State.”
Sarma informed the House that the State government has to spend an additiol amount of Rs 1,100 crore as salary per year for teachers working in schools provincialized after 2011. “If the rest of the schools are provincialzed, we will need another Rs 1,100 crore. Presently, the government is not in a position to bear the burden,” said the minister, adding, “If we want to bear this fincial burden, we will have to raise taxes on fuels. Will the Opposition Congress agree to such a move?”
On fincial assistance to non-provincialized schools as proposed by Khalek, Sarma said there is a bar on the issue imposed by the Gauhati High Court.
However, he made it clear that his government is committed towards provincialization of schools across the State and would call an all-party meeting on the issue soon after the budget session.