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Karnataka: Government school merger should not be an option say experts

July 20, 2022
Reshma Ravishanker 

A decision to merge 13,800 government schools to form Model Government Schools in Karnataka has not gone well with many who feel that it is shutting down these schools. 

Many have expressed that this merger of government schools to form Model government schools is just another pretext to close government schools that have fewer enrollments. 
In a press conference organised in the City on Tuesday, minister for education, BC Nagesh said that several schools had reported minimal enrollments. 
According to data collected from the Education department, as many as 13,800 government-run schools have less than 25 enrollments. Also, in Karnataka, around 1,800 have less than 10 admissions. 
“Closure is not an option. These schools will be merged with the model schools at hobli levels. There are 16 schools in Chamrajnagar and 32 schools in Raichur without teachers,” Nagesh had clarified. 
Nagasimha G Rao, director, Child Rights Trust said that the decision to merge government schools will only result in increased out of school children. 
“Before making statements about merger, several questions are to be answered. How will students travel from the exiting school to the new one? Who will counsel parents to send students to the new school? Is there access to the library for all? If these are answered, the other aspects government needs to think of is whether enough publicity in the form of street plays, songs, house visits are being done to tell locals about the benefits of joining a government school. If so, schools must also look at bettering in a manner so as to draw children back from budget private schools here,” Rao said. 
Ajay Kamath, state secretary, AIDSO said, “The government themselves have announced a closure of schools which report a continued drop in admissions. It is the the poor condition of government schools that is resulting in this. Last year 10 lakh students have moved from private to government schools because of a financial crisis as a result of the pandemic. In such a situation, the government must push more funds into government schools and work towards providing quality education here.” 
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