The Andhra Pradesh governmentâ€™s move to close about 6000 government including 3778 primary schools under the rationalisation system has attracted massive criticism from student activists and right to education (RTE) activists.
Chiku Moralimohan, Right to Education Forum national convener said, "Fall in enrollment can not be a reason to close schools. It is the government's responsibility to keep the enrollment up."
He also went on to question the government as to what purpose the infrastructure of the schools that will be shut down will be put to use
He added: "Any move to close public schools is a violation of fundamental rights of the children. The RTE Act says that all children must get an education within 1km from their residence.â€ť
Following the criticism, CM Chandrababu Naidu had earlier this month asked the officials to tread with caution before shutting schools down.
According to The Hans India, Naidu also said despite expenditure of Rs 22,000 crore on school education per year, the fall in enrollment has not stopped and this has become a serious concern.
â€śThere are some schools with 7 to 9 students with a teacher. Does the government engage a teacher with a fatty salary just for half a dozen or so students,â€ť he asked.
But activists say that this logic should not be used to close down schools.
Speaking to TNM, SFI AP secretary Noor Mohammed cautioned the government: "Any move to curb public education will attract repulsion, government should stop the closure of the schools in the name of rationalisation."
In Chittoor alone district education department has decided to close down 105 of the 3771 government schools.
The decision was also taken to merge around 27 schools which have low enrolment with neighbouring higher secondary schools.
The government has also decided to downgrade the high schools which have less than 50 students, Eenadu reported.
However, welcoming the move G Sree Ram Moorthy, a leader of the United Teachers Federation said, "They (government) should clear the doubts around rationalisation process, they should also make enough transport arrangements for students.â€ť