Free and Compulsory KG to PG Education in Telangana

By: Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao 

[The writer is CPRO to Telangana CM]

Introducing free and compulsory KG to PG model education for all, irrespective of caste, creed and religion is the aim of Telangana Government. Telangana being a new and a small state, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, in accordance with his promise made in TRS Election Manifesto, initiated measures towards this direction. The scheme envisages providing every child with education under similar conditions and in similar schools. Unfortunately few people with vested interest are agitating against this objective. This system however requires teachers with proficiency in English language. In a way the present Social Welfare Residential Schools pattern is almost similar in nature with this concept.

Chief Minister says that the state has to have a proper educational system and policy. The broad division is Primary including schooling, collegiate and post graduation; Technical, Medical and Agricultural education. Apart from the medical institutions, all the education branches are to be brought under one umbrella. Education Department should be the nodal agency for all. It is debatable whether so many residential schools are required today, because imparting education and knowledge is more important than number of categories. Whatever the schools might be, all the students must appear in the examinations as per the syllabus prescribed by education department. Instead of having many different supervisory bodies, one single agency can do justice. For instance the Tribal welfare department instead of spending time in running schools may concentrate more on implementation of welfare measures. Tribal or non-tribal education has to be under similar circumstances.

In the KG to PG model it will be only after the child attains the age of 8 and after completion of 4th standard would be eligible to stay in hostels. Classes eclipsing from the 5th onwards will be the arrangement and thus it will take 6 years to reach the 10th class. An assessment of requirement of teachers from KG to PG as against teachers retiring year after year would be made.

The Chief Minister says that hostel system has to be improved. Towards this he suggested several measures. Students accelerating to higher classes must be given separate rooms and in a room maximum number of inmates is to be limited to 4. Dormitory system cannot be continued for students of all classes. An estimated record number of 3270 pre-metric and post-metric hostels attached to different categories of institutions that run schools are in existence now. Students belonging to SCs, STs, BCs, minorities, disabled and others stay in hostels. It is however noticed that these hostels go through high levels of dishonesty and scams. Apart from this, children do not receive nutritious food as they are made to stand in a queue with plates in hand and are served with food by counting grams. To avoid such a situation, a buffet system must be introduced where the children can eat stomach full. Adequate care should be taken to put an end to dropouts of Muslim girls and enough of hostels are to be planned for them. It is ideal that in every constituency there are hostels for girls exclusively. Chief Minister feels that the Social Welfare Residential Schools Hostel System is working well. This may be applied to the KG to PG concept by addressing gaps if any.

There are 668 Model Schools in Telangana-a system which was introduced by Government of India and subsequently handed over to states by discontinuing central funding. For a better administration CM proposed to keep them under the overall administrative control of Social Welfare Residential Schools Society along with all other categories of Residential Schools. Model Schools are imparting education in English Medium. It is also equally necessary to provide a link from the present level of tenth class in the residential schools to the level of degree. With regards syllabus, the best one could be adopted.

There are 119 Assembly Segments in the state. Chief Minister desires that at the rate of 10 to each segment, a total of 1190 residential schools are to be established in the state. Thus in addition to the present 668 model schools, another 522 model schools with residential nature have to be started. In every constituency SCs, STs and BCs are to be benefited first. These are basically meant for poor. The existing 668 model schools are to be mapped in such a way that there is equitable distribution of them assembly segment wise. Similar methodology has to be adopted for introducing English Medium and to be expanded further in due course.

The Chief Minister says that we should give a serious thought on technical education also. There are ITIs and Polytechnics besides engineering colleges in the state. Are the students coming out of them really making a proper living? In fact there are no proper figures on the number of ITI passed students. CM suggested that ITI education should be taken out of labour department and to be kept under the control of Technical Education. Education should enable a person to make a proper living in Telangana society. They should be given required skill development. Lakhs of students passing out from engineering colleges are not gainfully employed. When majority of them are idle is there any relevance for EAMCET like entrance tests questioned CM.

Position of medical education also needs to be assessed. CM says that it is not proper that only medicine and engineering are to be seen as important career based studies. Requirement of society in terms of different type of services is to be studied. In addition to requirement of engineering and medical professionals, society’s requirement could be that of nurses, teachers, human resource developers, planners, singers, artists, mechanics, politicians or leaders and so on. For example, Telangana itself requires about 20, 000 elected representatives at various stages and why not they are prepared through education system says CM. At what stage and level of education these are to be branched out as well as proper mechanism for that is to be planned.
Chief Minister detailed his ideas about collegiate education and its prospects. Is the degree college education system functioning and performing well? Has its purpose been achieved? Are the graduates gainfully employed? CM feels that a serious study has to be undertaken with regards the job opportunities for all those who complete graduation both in private and public sector. The myth that, it is only IAS and IPS which are in the bracket of competitive examinations has to be removed from the mindset of students. There are many more in UPSC and TSPSC category besides these. There are also many more in private and public sector undertakings. A graduate should aspire for competing at national and global level. Students should be taught the “Art of Living”. CM suggested that these issues could be discussed with experts in education field for a proper understanding. Actual availability as against requirement of Lectures and Junior Lecturers has to be studied and to fill the gap recruitment process has to be taken up.

There are about 28,700 Government Schools including about 780 Urdu Medium Schools in the state in addition to 14535 privately run Schools. Among them as many as 19000 are primary schools. Except in 400 and odd habitations almost all villages have primary schools. Introduction of fine rice in the hostels also increased the strength in schools. Many of the Government Schools however are not yielding good results and majority are being run for namesake. About 1.25 Lakhs of teachers are working in these schools. Union problems are also there. CM wants a well thought-out strategy for Urdu Medium Schools besides establishing a rationale for their continuance in the present model. He suggested that instead of continuing them in this fashion English as medium of instruction may be introduced and Urdu as one of the optional languages along with Telugu could me made. However either Telugu or Urdu as medium of instruction should be limited only up to 4th Class.
Ultimately the entire exercise and drive is to move towards introducing free and compulsory KG to PG education system with English as medium of instruction to enable the Telangana student compete globally in all aspects.

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