RAIPUR: Opposition Congress today staged walkout from Chhattisgarh Assembly twice to protest against government's decision to rationalise state-run schools and outsourcing to fill vacant posts of school teachers.
The question for rationalisation of schools in state was raised by BJP legislator Rajmahant Sanvalaram Dahre during the Question Hour.
Dahre sought information about the schools run in Ahiwara constituency segment as well as school-wise strength of students there in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He also asked how many schools were closed in the segment under the rationalisation process.
After providing details about the schools in Ahiwara segment, the School Education Minister Kedar Kashyap said that schools were not being closed down on the basis of strength in the region under the rationalisation process.
However, the entire opposition, led by the leader of opposition T S Singhdeo and state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel, alleged that in the name of rationalisation, around 3,000 schools are being closed down by the government.
"Over 80 per cent schools in tribal-dominated regions, including Bastar and Surguja, have been closed down. It is not an issue of Ahiwara only, instead children, particularly in rural areas, are suffering due to this throughout the state," Congress members said.
In response, Kashyap said government's prime objective was to provide quality education to students, particularly in remote areas.
He also said that the government has fixed criteria about distance for primary, middle-level and higher secondary schools. "The schools, which have less than 10 enrolled students, are being shut down," he said.
Singhdeo asked whether distance or number of students was considered by the government for the rationalisation process, the Minister said both criteria are being considered.
The Minister said very soon the vacant posts in rural areas will be filled and said the charge that schools in tribal areas were being closed down was incorrect.
Not satisfied over the Minister's reply, Congress members staged a walkout.
The Opposition members staged a walkout for the second time demanding a roll-back of the government's decision to go for outsourcing to fill the vacant posts of school teachers in the state.
Raising the issue during Question Hour, Singhdeo sought details of number of schools in the state and sanctioned posts of teachers. He also sought details about vacant and filled posts of teachers against the total number of sanctioned posts.
In his reply, School Education Minister Kashyap said, a total of 51,172 schools, including 33,126 primary, 13,864 middle-level, 1,893 high schools and 2,289 higher secondary schools are functioning in the state.
As many as 2,19,933 posts of teaches were sanctioned of which 1,74,701 are filled while 45,232 are vacant, Kashyap said.
Singhdeo then asked whether the government has decided to fill the vacant school teacher posts through outsourcing, to which the minister said owing to non-availability of aspirants for posts of teachers for subjects like English, maths, physics and others, the state has decided to go with the idea of outsourcing as a "temporary arrangement".
To this, Singhdeo said outsourcing of school teachers will have a negative impact on the employment opportunities for local youths as large number of aspirants from outside would apply for the posts. He asked the government to take back its decision.
However, Kashyap said, "The initiative has been taken to impart quality education to children, particularly from rural and remote areas, where there is shortage of teachers."
Dissatisfied over his answer, Congress legislators started shouting slogans and demanded a roll back of the outsourcing decision.