HYDERABAD: As schools in the state are all set to begin the new academic year, after facing huge challenges for the past two years, the education department is leaving no stone unturned to make school education a novel experience for students by providing better infrastructure and ensuring total enrolment. With several new reforms in the education sector on the cards, the government has been conducting campaigns and giving training to teachers for the past few weeks.
Education minister Patlolla Sabitha Indra Reddy, in an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, spoke about several initiatives being taken up to provide better education to students.
Q. What is the government’s aim from this academic year?
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao aims to provide highly sophisticated infrastructure in government schools. The education department has embarked on ‘Mana Ooru Mana Badi’, where about 22 lakh students enrolled in government schools will have top-notch facilities ensuring high quality education. To realise this dream, we released a notification to fill 20,000 teachers’ posts for which the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) was conducted on Sunday.
Q. Why do you think parents are opting for private schools?
Parents are choosing private schools for the facilities and infrastructure they provide. In order to reduce the gap between government and private schools, we revamped many schools at a cost of `7,000 crore. Thanks to Deccan Chronicle for bringing us the issues which needed to be attended to. We have taken notice of it and instructed officials to rectify the mistakes.
Q. What is the idea behind introducing English medium in government schools?
We all know the English medium will connect students globally. Parents are opting for private schools due to the absence of English medium in government schools. To address this issue, the Chief Minister directed us to introduce English medium from this academic year from Class 1 to 8, ensuring Telugu as a compulsory subject. The government will supply bilingual textbooks. We will introduce English medium till Class 10 next year.
Q. When can textbooks be expected?
They will be available from the first week of July. Prior to that, schools will have a bridge course for children to cope with English as a medium of language.
Q. What is the status of the free KG-to-PG education plan?
We faced several hardships while implementing the programme. Till date have constructed 950 Gurukul schools and the demand for admission is very high. On similar lines, government schools would be developed.
Q. Will the government regulate the fee in private schools?
The government has discussed the recommendations given by the Tirupati Rao Committee and decided to bring in a Fee Regulation Act. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government asked private schools to collect only the tuition fee and that too in installments. The fee was regulated in 80 per cent of budget schools. It has come to our notice that few corporate schools are not following the guidelines. The government has acted on 41 corporate schools as of now.
Q. Students and teachers have complained of poor quality of mid-day meals.
We are providing fine rice. We are ensuring good quality. If anyone compromises on the quality, we will initiate stringent action. The headmaster should check the quality of the meal. The instruction was given by the Chief Minister.
Q. What about the availability of uniforms?
At least one pair of uniforms will be distributed by July end. There is a slight delay as we are changing the colours and design of the uniforms.