Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ahmedabad govt schools' class one enrolment goes down by "more than 50%", alleges activist-turned-politician

By Our Representative
Making a scathing attack on the BJP government in Gujarat, a well-known activist-turned-politician has said the recent state-sponsored child enrolment drive, kanya kelavni, is a “complete failure”, with more than 50 per cent drop in in the total number of children admitted in state government schools in Ahmedabad alone.
Talking with newspersons, Sukhdev Patel, formerly with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), said, “Ten years ago, about 31,000 children would be enrolled in the city’s municipal corporation schools; this has gone down to less than 15,000 today.”
Patel said, “The state government has been claiming per cent success in the child enrolment drive, but has, ever since it began with the kanya kelavni programme under Narendra Modi 14 years ago, refused to give the number of children getting admitted in class one.”
“The state government appears to have lost interest in government schools, whose quality has been progressively deteriorating”, Patel said, adding, “This has led to a situation where the poor parents are forced to admit their children to private schools. In fact, the Gujarat government is shedding its responsibility of supporting school education.”
Contending that the Gujarat government is refusing to implement the RTE Act in its letter and spirit, Patel said, under Section 9 of the Act, it is the responsibility of the local government authorities to collect all the statistical details of every child up to the age of 14.
“The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), under the BJP rule, has not cared to follow this section of the RTI Act”, Patel said, adding, “Even the Congress appears to be unaware of this provision.”
“What is worse”, he said, “Is that for quite some time there is no chairman of the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board, which should be response be responsible for collecting the information”, threatening to hold a child rights protest rally in the city.
Addressing newspersons ahead of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Gujarat on July 9-10, Patel, who was earlier the party’s Gujarat convener, said, “This is not just true of Ahmedabad but of entire Gujarat. This suggests that the Right to Education (RTE) Act is just not being implemented in the state.”
Patel, who has been associated with the state’s premier child rights group, Gantar, is known to hvae initiated AAP in Gujarat during its formative stage three years ago. Early this year, he resigned from the party because of sharp differences over the selection of cadres for AAP, forming Sushasan Party.
On sidelines of the press conference, Patel told Counterview, he has “no quarrels with the AAP ideology”, but as of today, he claimed, the party “does not exist in the state.” He added, “Its present leaders lack agenda or perspective. Many of them are former BJP members.”
Kejriwal’s decision to arrive in Gujarat, starting with Somnath, from where he will go to Surat, and the announcement that AAP will be fighting all the 182 seats in the December 2017 assembly polls, has already created political flutter across India, with Congress and BJP making frantic attempts to deny its very existence in the state.
AAP’s critics say, the party does not even have a permanent state-level office in Gujarat. “There is a temporary office in Dani Limda area in the house of a discredited builder”, a senior political leader alleged.

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