BJP govt’s move to merge schools in MP will shut down 90 % state-run schools, render one lakh teachers jobless
Those who work in the field of education are sceptical of the ‘CM Rise Schools’ initiative as they feel it is part of a long-term plan designed to privatize education
In BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, 90 per cent state-run schools will vanish from the education map in the coming time as the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has decided to merge schools located within 15 km-radius under the ‘CM Rise Schools’ initiative. After the merger, nearly 1.8 lakh schools will disappear from the ground.
The development, which has created panic among teachers, is being dubbed as a move to hand over education to private companies, corporates, and ‘education mafia’ by some.
As per an estimate – if implemented all over the state – the scheme will render over one lakh teachers jobless amid growing financial woes due to Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns.
Currently, the ‘CM Rise School’ initiative has been implemented only in five districts of the Bhopal zone.
The objective of the initiative, as per the BJP government, is to impart education to state school students at par with Central educational boards including the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE).
Under the initiative, new schools will be built with modern facilities including smart classrooms, modern labs, external exposure in the form of school excursions, and inter-school activities and career development.
As per the plan, in the first phase, schools built within a radius of 3 and 5 km will be merged. The limit for it is 5 primary and 8 middle-level schools with 1248 students and 25 teachers. In the second phase, schools built within 10 km will be put together, that is 13 primary and 3 middle schools with 710 students and 32 teachers.
But the mega initiative launched by the BJP government to ‘uplift’ the MP’s education system, which is considered amongst the poorest in the country, has raised doubts. Those who work in the field of education are sceptical of the initiative as they feel it is part of a long-term plan designed to privatize education.
Talking to National Herald, Jagdeesh Yadav, president of the State Teachers’ Confederation Madhya Pradesh, slammed the BJP government, asserting that the initiative will lead to depriving children from poor and rural population of the right to education.
“Lakhs of teachers will be rendered jobless…There are 250-300 teachers in schools located within a 15-km radius. After the merger, the government will take only 50-60 teachers, that too after a state-level test. That means 200 teachers will be rendered jobless within 150-km radius. As per an estimate, nearly two lakh teachers will become jobless,” he added.
“If the idea is to uplift the standard of the education, why is there so much emphasis on the merger?” he questioned.
He further said that the new system will impact the overall education system in Madhya Pradesh in a number of ways:
1. Girls’ education is going to be the worst hit as parents will hesitate to send their girls to schools located 15 km away from their home
2. SC/ST, OBC, small farmers, people living in rural areas face exclusion
3. Education sector provides maximum employment after the Railways. It is one of the most profitable businesses also. Private sector will eventually take over.
Tultul Vishwas, faculty at Eklavya – a reputed NGO working in the education sector – echoed Yadav’s concerns. Speaking to NH, she said while there are always two sides to the coin, one has to look into the intention.
“In the 60s-70s, there were Model Schools, and then came Schools of Excellence. Now this ‘CM Rise’ initiative. Great emphasis of meritocracy in the name of quality itself is exclusionary,” said Tultul.