Time for a social movement to create a vibrant school system

The state government is constrained by inadequate resources to meet the growing demand for good quality schools, as most of the allocated funds are consumed by salaries.

Published: 21st April 2020 06:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st April 2020 06:40 AM   |  A+A-

Dr MR Doreswamy

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The state government is constrained by inadequate resources to meet the growing demand for good quality schools, as most of the allocated funds are consumed by salaries. As an alternative, adoption of government schools by philanthropists or private institutions has become a well-established practice. In Karnataka, PES University has played a key role to nucleate an initiative since 1991, not only to formulate a cohesive state policy in 2001 but also developed 16 government schools in Bangalore urban and rural areas. 

The 2001 policy was updated by a GO in 2009 to formalise the participation of donors through an MoU, wherein the donor-participant can select school/s and a plan of action in selected areas. Although the programme is successful, there still exists scope to expand it. PES University has developed 10 schools in flood-ravaged areas of Chikkodi and Bagalkot districts in 2019.

The transformation could happen if adoption policy is redefined to set a novel stage for empowering the school system as a whole. A roadmap of such a setup is given below: Legislators taking a lead role would galvanise the support of others, transforming the initiative into a social movement. They could select three government schools in their constituency for focused development. The scheme may be extended to include MLCs and MPs.  The proposal to the Yediyurappa government that all legislators should adopt three government schools in their constituency has been included in the 2020-21 budget proposals.  

Existing institutions of higher learning could also adopt government schools in their vicinity For sanction of new institutions, the government may include stipulations cited above as preconditions 
Participation of corporate/industry/philanthropists could take the initiative to the next level:

a. Adopt a school under the existing scheme for development of academic or physical infrastructure  
b. Participate in construction and management of an entire school or any part 
c. Participate in locations of their choice or those prioritised by the government.
d. The government may consider a special provision for the newly-constructed school to carry the name of the donor.

The number of model schools can be expanded across the state by enlisting the participation of all stakeholders with targeted outcomes of increased Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and good quality educational services.

The writer is adviser to Karnataka govt on Educational Reforms and chancellor, PES University 


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