Children who find it difficult to travel distances to go to schools in India will soon be able to get education at their doorsteps, thanks to a new scheme.
This will benefit India’s Karnataka state has more than 1.7 million boys and girls out of the school system, despite allocating a budget $697.25 million for 2018-19.
Karnataka has emerged as an information technology (IT) hub of India and also its largest software exporter and the education authorities are now putting in place a plan to set up mobile schools.
The state’s education department has requested Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to give its old and out-of-use buses to them so that they can be converted to mobile schools.
The mobile school education system, which was in existing in the beginning years of 2000 in several slum areas of Bangalore city, proved to be very successful. The Right to Education Act 2009 states that it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure that every citizen receives primary education (from Class I to VIII) at the least.
Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education N. Mahesh recently said that Indian Rs 50 billion was needed for repair works and infrastructure development in schools across the State.
Considering all these factors, old KSRTC buses will serve as classrooms stationed at various parts of the state, mainly in few remote districts to begin with. It is being said that peripheral slums and rural and rehabilitation colonies should be given priority for such mobile education initiatives.
If materialized, these proposed mobile schools will be equipped with a variety of teaching and learning material including computers, boards, books and animated lessons in VCDs, soft toys, games and learning kits.
In a country where every child in the age group of six to fourteen years has the constitutional right to free and compulsory education, initiatives like providing mobile schools will go a long way in attaining 100 per cent literacy.
Many surveys conducted over the last few years have pointed out that children living in areas having no access to schools and children of construction workers and migrant laborers, don’t have access to education. So, keeping in mind all these factors, the state government will soon provide these children schools that will come to them.
Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary to the State government (Primary and Secondary education department) told the media: “A survey is held every year to identify children who have not been enrolled in schools. This year we will be doing one more round before December to see how many are still out of schools. These are mostly children of construction workers.”
Primary and Secondary education department has written to the KSRTC officials and asked them to provide non-functional buses so that these buses can be used as classrooms in a particular area or they can ferry these students to a school in an accessible location.
Responding positively, the KSRTC managing director SR Umashankar asserted that he is ready to give as many buses as the education department wants. He added: “More than a thousand defunct buses across the State are available for such noble causes and we can alter them as per their requirements and hand it over to the education department.”
Umashankar said that a round of discussion with his team of engineers to re-design the buses to look like classrooms is already on. Prof. K. Puttaraju, former Registrar of Bangalore University, says countries like Africa, Russia and Bangladesh have a very successful mobile school set up.
“In Bangladesh boats are being used as classrooms. Though, there is a school in almost every village in Karnataka, the forest and tribal and tribal areas still lack proper schools and it is here that mobile schools will work wonders. It is a good move and with genuine commitment education can be taken to areas where access to education is lacking,” he said.
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