The High Court on Wednesday gave a go-ahead to the state government’s decision to merge Kannada schools with those having less than five and 10 students, saying this would encourage competitiveness.
Hearing the public interest litigation petition filed by litterateurs and Jnanpith award winners G S Shivarudrappa, Girish Karnad, Chandrashekar Kambar and U R Ananthamurthy, seeking to quash the gazette notification to close Kannada schools across the state, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna upheld the state government decision on merging schools with less than five and 10 students with nearby schools and disposed of the PIL.
During the hearing, the government had defended its decision stating that 131 primary schools had zero strength, 551 had less than five students and 2,483 schools enrolled less than 10 students. Among higher primary schools, there were no students in 74 schools and there are less than 10 students in 380 schools. It said it will merge these schools with those three km away and provide Rs 300 a month to each student for transportation. It has already merged 370 Kannada schools having less than five children.
The bench observed that quality education cannot be ensured in schools with less than five students. Merging schools will help students build competitiveness as there will be more students. The court said closure of schools does not amount to violation of fundamental rights since students are assured admission in neighbouring schools.