BENGALURU: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had promised that students will get all that they need. However, more than 47.13 lakh students of 47,395 government schools including 6,80,258 students of 4,257 high schools who began their new academic year on Monday, wondered if they would get their shoes, socks and bicycles as they are not included or approved in the budget for the third year in a row.
They are also not on the priority list of the Education Department. Education minister BC Nagesh said, “Education of children which has suffered over past two years, is our priority,” he said.
Speaking to TNIE, Nagesh said, “While government schools are at a distance of 2-3 km, children travel in buses, and they don’t use bicycles anymore. In order to ensure children get proper education, we are recruiting 27,000 guest teachers in the beginning of academic year itself, besides conducting exam for recruitment of 15,000 teachers from Classes 6 to 8.
We are also providing mid-day meals 15 days in advance. We are also spending over Rs 150 crore for ‘Learning recovery programme’. These have been on our priority list, for childrens’ education. We could have saved the money spent on all these meant for education of kids, and could buy shoes and bicycles. But without education, what will kids do with shoes and bicycles. We will also get shoes, socks, bicycles later,” he said.
A top official of the Primary and Secondary Education Department said, “Due to lack of funds and the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no budget allocation for shoes, socks and bicycles this year too. But they can be included in additional budget whenever government takes emergency decisions.”
Uniforms three months later
School children studying in government schools might get their uniforms three months later. Since the price quoted in one tender was high, another tender has been floated delaying the process. Until students get their uniforms, they can wear their old uniforms or colour dress, the official said.
Schools reopen to learning recovery for kids
Bengaluru: Government schools -- 42,657 primary and 4,738 high schools -- recorded attendance of 30 per cent to 60 per cent of over 47.13 lakh students, on the first day of the academic year on Monday. The students were cheered with attractive activities, including games, as their academic year, termed ‘Learning Recovery Year’ (Kalika Varsha), began with ‘Kalika Chetharike -- Learning Recovery Programme (LCP)’.
“LCP, taken up by the state education department for the first time in the country, targets at improving the competency of children through co-curricular activities, including speeches and debates, to bridge the learning gap. These initial 15 days are only a preparatory phase for the academic year, and LCP is stretched for the entire year. Since kids have missed nursery, Class 1 and 2 in the past two years, ‘Vidyapravesh’ -- a foundation course is taken up for first three months under ‘Nipun Bharat’ programme of NEP 2020 to teach basics through songs and stories. For kids from Class 4 to 9, ‘Malebillu programme’ is planned for 15 days to bridge the learning gap and prepare them for their academic year. For SSLC students, one month orientation programme is taken up to mentally prepare them for board exams,” said Bhanu Kumara B, an education department officer. - Shilpa P