Telangana Finance minister Harish Rao on Saturday received a reality check on the plight of the education sector in the state when students from a Zilla Parishad school he met with did not know the capital of the country. This comes months after the Telangana state budget this year cut education budget by 1.6% earlier this year.
The minister was visiting Kandi in Sangareddy to inspect a TRS district office when he dropped by the Zilla Parishad High School to inspect the mid-day meals. He then interacted with students of class 10, but much to his dismay, he found that the students could not even write the names of their teachers — neither in Telugu, Hindi nor in English, reported TOI.
When the minister asked them to recite the multiplication table of 12, the students were unable to recollect multiplication tables beyond 10. The minister rebuked the teachers over this and wondered how the students will be able to compete in the outside world if they are not taught well.
He then asked four students to write their teacher’s names on the blackboard in Telugu and English but three of the students were unable to do so. The minister also quizzed the students on basic general knowledge, such as the capital of the country, but many did not know the correct answers.
The minister appreciated a lone girl student who was able to give him the right answer to his questions.
Harish Rao also questioned the teachers when he was told that the passing percentage of Class 10 was 100 per cent. He is quoted to have asked how that was possible when their answers were incorrect.
In February 2019, in the state budget presented by the state chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, the education budget was cut from Rs 13,278 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 12,220.75 crore for 2019-20, a drop of Rs 1058 core (1.6 per cent).
Teachers associations say there is a shortage of as many as 20,000 teachers in total at various school in the state. The state, however, claims that they have appointed 7,000 new teachers and 18,000 vidya volunteers to meet the staff shortage at schools.
According to The Hindu, Harish Rao on Saturday stated that there is a need for ‘revolutionary reforms’ in the education system.