RANCHI: Facing criticism for the decision to merge schools, the Jharkhand government has now decided to seek consent from parents before merging a primary school with a nearby larger school located beyond a distance of 1 km. According to Principal Secretary of School Education and Literacy Department AP Singh, primary schools will be merged only if parents and the school managing committee are willing. “Children studying in primary schools will be shifted to larger schools located beyond a distance of 1 km only if the parents of 50 per cent of the students are willing. The consent of the school management committee will also be mandatory,” said Singh.
He, however, said that there would be no change in primary and secondary schools which have already been merged. Notably, more than 6,000 primary and middle schools have been merged in the past two academic sessions. Around 1,400 have been merged in 2016-7 and 4,600 in 2017-18, while the process of merging 6,466 more middle schools is still on.
Though officials claim that the merger was a part of a “re-organisation” process and was being done according to the NITI Aayog guidelines, 12 BJP parliamentarians have objected to it and said the move would lead to the rise in drop-outs.
Speaking about the 2000 schools which are about to be merged, Singh said that the parents would be reimbursed for their travel expenses if they are willing to bring children to schools beyond 1 km. Ranchi MP Ram Tahal Chaudhary said the mergers, hinder the spirit of ‘Sarva Shikssha Abhiyaan’.