BENGALURU: Teachers working in government schools in the State are forced to pay from their pockets to buy even basic needs like pieces of chalk, as the State government has not released annual grants to the schools for the current academic year.
The teachers, who are fed up of requesting district authorities, have now decided to close the schools down for three days in January as a mark of protest.
Karnataka State Primary School Teachers’ Association president Basavaraj Gurikar told Express, “The grants are necessary for schools. But this year, the government has not released the funds yet.”
There are over 46,000 government schools in the State and the government provides Rs 15,000 as annual maintenance grant and Rs 7,000 as basic grant for primary schools and Rs 15,000 as maintenance grant and Rs 5,000 as basic grant for lower primary schools.
“Every year, these grants are released during June when schools open for that academic year. We have submitted requests at the district-level. Since it has not borne any result, we have decided to protest by closing the schools,” said Gurikar.
However, he added that they are yet to decide on the dates on which they will close the schools.
“We have organised a national education conference on January 19 and 20 in which teachers from across the State will participate. We will decide the dates of the protest at that conference,” he said.
The issue of release of funds was discussed in an interaction on ‘The role of school development and monitoring committee coordination forum in strengthening of government schools,’ held in the city on Sunday where a large number of teachers took part.
Educationist V P Niranjanaradhya said, “The government expects the schools to be in good condition and, at the same time, does not release maintenance funds.”
Where Did the Money go?
The education sector has always received the highest allocation in the State budget. During the 2014-15 budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the total amount set aside for the sector was Rs 21,305 crore, Rs 2,639 crore more that allocated in 2013-14. The Primary and Secondary Education Department has received as much as Rs 17,425 crore of it this year.