The government schools in Karnataka are in miserable conditions with students deprived of shoes, socks, uniforms, funds, and care.
According to Indian Express, Karnataka government schools are miserably deprived of a myriad of necessities including scarcity of teachers and lack of funds being allotted to the government schools which is seriously hampering the future of the lives of children in Karnataka.
Very Little Funds Released for Karnataka Government Schools
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, in his maiden budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 had said he was increasing the education budget allocation by 1%, While reserving Rs 31,980 crore for education programmes, Chief Minister Bommai stressed that thrust would be given to bring up new universities, model schools and Bengaluru public schools. This promise appears not to have been kept as the teachers are complaining about their problems.
The government schools in Karnataka that is struggling barely scraping along with very less funds allotted to them to purchase materials for the children such as books, uniforms, uniforms, socks and shoes and other necessities and the crux of the problem is the government of Karnataka had not released the funds to the school.
A ut this year, even after nearly two months of school reopening we haven’t been allocated funds for purchasing the socks and shoes. In our school, there are over 1,500 students and for each student, it would cost around Rs 350 to buy a pair of socks and shoes,” the headmaster of a government high school in Bengaluru said as quoted by Indian Express.
Minister Nagesh recently courted controversy by saying that students attend schools “to seek education and not socks and shoes” completely ignoring the neglect of the children because they had not even been given books.
Acute Shortage of Teachers in Karnataka
Another problem faced is the acute shortage of teachers in Karnataka. When the state government of Karnataka is asked why the government-run schools in the state are understaffed, their response has either been that there are not many eligible teachers or that there are too few students for new teachers to be appointed. For individuals to be appointed as teachers in government-run schools in Karnataka, they will have to clear Kar-TET ( Karnataka Teacher Eligibility Test). As per a report, out of 2.97 lakh applicants of Kar-TET in 2016, only 9,963 cleared it according to a report by The Logical India.
There are teachers who multitask due to the scarcity of teachers. Earlier in a report by Deccan Herald, it was quoted, “There are teachers in the district who also fetch vegetables for the school as they cannot trust the cook. They monitor the implementation of several other government schemes, teach that children are taught, and also coordinate with the government to ensure that the basic necessities of the school are fulfilled,” said a child rights activist, on condition of anonymity. Even those who are recruited as general teachers from Class I to Class III, under the Nali Kali programme teach higher primary classes whenever there is a shortage of staff.
Sharp Criticism from the Opposition
Former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah from Congress who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly said, “The government is playing with the future of innocent children.” He went on to say, “On the one hand, the ruling party leaders and officers are looting the public money through 40 per cent commission politics, and on the other hand, the BJP is playing with the future of innocent children by not giving textbooks, bicycles, shoes and socks. It was former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa who introduced the scheme to give bicycles to girl students. Is Basavaraj Bommai trying to sideline Yediyurappa by not continuing with the scheme?”
While the BJP state government said that they had spent Rs 150 crore on the learning recovery programme, their most enterprising learning recovery programme – an initiative to bridge the learning gap among students due to lockdown – also landed in a debate after the teachers were asked to find donors to obtain photocopies of the learning worksheets.
The students were also asked to take down the learning worksheets in their notebooks. “The worksheets are now being distributed to all the schools in a phased manner. The learning worksheets for classes 1, 2 and 3 have already been distributed,” said the education department officer.
Termed as a Violation of the Right to Education Act
Not providing good education material with a well-equipped influx of teachers is very demotivating for students who will consider school as horrible drudgery losing all motivation to study. There will be many dropouts and the very purpose of providing education for all will be defeated.
Anandraj Margadarshi, a child rights activist from the Kalaburagi district earlier said that “When there is a single teacher, there is no one to monitor his or her presence. In several instances, the villages are bribed by the teachers not to complain against their absenteeism.”
Terming it a violation of Right to Education Act, he says, in such schools, the quality of education suffers. “Syllabus is not completed in many such single-teacher schools. Only for the record, children are in a higher class. Children don’t have basic language and maths skills and are unable to comprehend even simple topics. Children don’t enjoy the process of learning and get demotivated. Eventually, parents take children to work in the agricultural fields or migrate. It contributes significantly to an increase in drop-out rates,” he adds.
Unless the government perceives that the lack of education is one of the greatest causes of chaos around the nation, and purposefully aims to educate a nation of over one billion people, India will constantly face a host of problems. Education is a basic right of every Indian and should be made fun, educative, innovative and exciting to draw children and educate a nation.