Skip to main content

10,000 Gujarat schools face closure as $500 million WB loan sought to 'improve' quality

By Our Representative 

Will the World Bank’s proposed loan to the tune of 500 million dollars to the Government of Gujarat, under an education project called Gujarat Outcomes for Accelerated Learning (GOAL) programme, lead to the neglect of 32,000 primary schools across the State? It would seem to if a consultation, organised by the advocacy group Right to Education (RTE), Forum, Gujarat, is any indication.
Participants, including economists Indira Hirway and Hemant Shah, education activsit Sukhdev Patel, data analyst Mahendra Jethmalani, and minority rights leader Mujahid Nafees, among others, agreed that the whole focus of the loan is on “developing 6,000 schools on the basis of performance”.
They pointed out, the project was quite in line with the State government seeking to emphasise on quality education through its Gunotsav education programme instead of simultaneously focusing on providing education to all. “The result”, said Nafees, a key speaker, “Is that nearly 10,000 schools are on the verge of closure in the name of merger.”
Warning that the World Bank project would not improve the condition of education in Gujarat, the participants, particularly academics, said, the six-year project which would end in 2027, with the State government spending another Rs 1,308 crore, would also put a huge strain on the State finances.
The 78-page document does not state whether the World Bank amount is a loan or a grant. If it is a loan, the State government will have to pay interest at the rate of 9.2 percent. The current year's budget of the Gujarat government is Rs 2.24 lakh crore. The total expenditure on education is Rs 32,700 crore. In that sense, the seven-year loan amount is negligible. Hence, there is no need for a World Bank loan, it was pointed out.
Activists said, the World Bank project talks about “big results” by supporting the government to set up 34 schools having a capacity of 3,000 students in tribal areas, but what about other schools? The Right to Education (RTE) Act is is mentioned only once in the project document, one of them alleged, adding, the big question is whether RTE will be maintained.
There is no mention in the project document as to how any comprehensive improvement in the condition of primary or secondary education in Gujarat would be brought about”, said an activist, adding, there is no mention of recruiting ‘missing teachers’ either. The only emphasis is on developing what are called 6,000 lighthouse schools in six years, even as neglecting the remaining schools.
The project says that it will benefit 47 lakh children. Are 47 lakh students studying in 6000 schools in Gujarat?, wondered an activist.



Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."