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Minority schools cry for aid

Members of Jharkhand Christian Minority Educational Institutions’ Association on Wednesday urged chief minister Hemant Soren to look into some of their long-standing demands such as government recognition of schools and appointment of teachers.

Chief minister Hemant, Mandar MLA Bandhu Tirkey as well as Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo listened to the problems of the minority association that runs as many as 1,252 schools, educating nearly 10 lakh students.

Of the 1,252 schools, around 270 have not been recognised by the government.

“The government has not recognised any minority school since 1980. There are more than 120 high schools and 150 primary cradles awaiting state recognition,” said Father Hebertus Beck, secretary of the association.

Schools recognised by the state get aid and entitlements such as funds for teachers’ salaries and midday meals.

As of now, 847 primary schools and 135 secondary cradles are aided by the state.

After 1980, some 270 schools have been set up by the association across the state, many of them in remote areas. None gets state aid.

The association also urged the chief minister to ensure appointment of teachers in the recognised schools to maintain the government standard of 1:40 teacher-student ratio.

They said the teacher:student ratio is skewered in both the aided and unaided schools.

The third major point was the introduction of plus two classes.

“The state government has taken a decision to upgrade government high schools and introduce plus two classes. However, Christian minority schools have been kept out of this. If the government decides to include our schools within the ambit of the plan, many students, particularly in the rural areas, will benefit immensely,” Beck added.

The minority education association had also prepared a draft — Jharkhand Minority Educational Institution Rules, 2013 — to lay down norms for setting up and managing minority schools. A copy of the draft was handed over to Hemant for his approval.

The chief minister said he would look into the issues. “We will discuss the issues highlighted today (Wednesday) during the winter session of the state Assembly, including the proposed rule guide,” said Hemant.

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