The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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UP ticked off for education neglect

New Delhi, June 22: The Centre has slammed Uttar Pradesh for continuing to neglect education even after the human resources development ministry approved an outlay of over Rs 1,000 crore for the state government to implement the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan that seeks to universalise elementary education.

“Nearly 89,000 existing posts of elementary education teachers are vacant,” S.C. Tripathi, secretary of education in the ministry, wrote to P.. Punia, the principal secretary to the chief minister.

“Uttar Pradesh has a poor pupil-teacher ratio and has a large number of out-of-school children,” he added.

The state, known for its backwardness, has a poor record in both education and health. Yet, despite declining literacy rates and an increasing number of dropouts, the state government has continued to turn a blind eye to the plight of students.

In eight districts — Maharajganj, Sidharthnagar, Bahraich, Sravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Rampur and Badaun — the female literacy rate is less than 30 per cent. In many others, the rate is between 30 and 40 per cent. This is despite the Centre’s stress on introducing bridge courses and establishing alternative education centres for girls between nine and 14 who dropped out.

Tripathi reminded the state government that the Centre’s Project Approval Board had, at a meeting on May 27, sanctioned 62,000 additional posts for teachers to correct the dismal pupil-teacher ratio. “The state government is thus required to fill 1,50,000 posts,” Tripathi said.

The board also approved an allocation of more than Rs 1000 crore under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan for new primary and upper primary schools, additional class rooms, toilets and drinking water facilities. In addition, the Centre has disbursed nearly Rs 220 crore for the District Primary Education Programme, a component of the Abhiyan. Tripathi emphasised the need to “de-centralise” the procedure for hiring teachers, a procedure that has been successful in many states.

The Centre also insists that 50 per cent of the teachers hired must be women.

“The state government has to work out a plan to recruit teachers and then give them the necessary training through distance mode. The National Council for Teacher Education will have to approve such a plan,” Tripathi stressed.

While Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh — two other states lagging behind in education — have made efforts to improve the situation, the Uttar Pradesh government has not even completed the household survey, necessary for assessing the number of child dropouts.

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