The Kannada Development Authority (KDA), which recently made headlines for their aggressive push against Hindi imposition, asked the state government to make it mandatory for elected representatives and government employees to send their children to government schools.
This was one of the 21 recommendations made by the seven-member committee aimed at improving quality of education in government schools. The report, submitted by the KDA, was released by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday, who assured that the recommendations will be implemented in a phased manner.
"When government officials also send their children to private schools, why would they be interested in improving government schools?" the KDA questioned.
"This is one of the most effective ways to bring government schools on par with private schools in the present-day education system," said the report, which was for strengthening government schools. KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah said that an ordinance should be passed to this effect at the earliest.
One of the other suggestions made in the report is to introduce English lessons from Standard I, in order to counter the popularity of private English medium schools.
While 1,782 government schools were shut between 2010 and 2017, 3,186 new private schools were set up in the same period. Basic amenities like toilets, drinking water, library and playgrounds exist only on paper for many schools, the report stated.
It highlighted the need to hire the stipulated number of teachers in government schools for all the subjects. The KDA urged the government to relieve overworked teachers from non-teaching duties.
The expert panel included Chairman SG Siddaramaiah, litterateur Chandrashekhar Patil and education experts such as VP Niranjanaradhya. TM Kumar and pro-Kannada thinker Ra Nam Chandrashekhar were also part of the committee. They asked schools that were merged with neighbouring schools owing to low enrollment to reopen.
Moreover, the government has been asked to consider introducing kindergarten classes to be at par with private educational institutions. â€śSince there are no government pre-primary classes, the number of students enrolling directly to class I is decreasing. Parents take admission in private schools which have kindergarten. The government should take immediate steps to start kindergarten in its schools,â€ť KDA Chairman SG Siddaramaiah said.
The experts also recommended that the state government should do away with reimbursing private schools for admitting students under the RTE quota. â€śIn the year 2016-17, Rs 930 crore was spent for reimbursing private schools. In a few years, this number will multiply. Instead, it should be the social responsibility of the private schools to provide free education,â€ť the report said as it is done in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.