Hyderabad: Amending the Right to Education by the Government will shut down nearly half of the 26,000 government schools in the state.
The state plans to change the habitation in a safe walking distance from 1km to 5 kms for all sections, TOI reports.
The Act defines a neighbourhood school as ‘the habitation in a safe walking distance of 1km for a primary school (classes I to V), 3km for upper-primary school (classes VI to VIII) and 5km for high schools.’
This will be changed to 5km for primary, upper-primary and high schools.
The government has formed a six-member committee including regional joint director (Hyderabad), district and mandal education officers and a representative from Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan to look into the consequences of amending RTE and submit a detailed report.
“While we have been asked to take distance as main parameter to define neighbourhood schools, in urban areas, schools are established based on need, not distance. So, we might also have to consider enrolment. We will get a clear picture only after our first meeting,” said Hyderabad district education officer (DEO), B Venkata Narassamma also a member in the committee.
“There are about 1,348 schools in Rangareddy, which also has thandas along with several areas. We will have to see how students from these areas may get affected,” said Rangareddy DEO E Vijaya Lakshmi, also a member of the committee.
However, Teachers, student organisations, and parents claim the government is looking for ways to shut down government schools to help private and corporate schools.
“Earlier they tried to close schools in the name of rationalisation and re-location. Now it is by amending RTE Act. Instead, the government should concentrate on providing basic facilities in the schools and recruit teachers,” said Telangana Teachers Federation president, E Raghunandan.