Kids will have to walk four to six kilometre and more to their school.
Pune: NCP leader and MP Supriya Sule has said that the state education minister’s decision to close down schools with few students would harm the future of many “bahujan” students. The decision is also at odds with the provisions of the Right to Education Act, she said.
Ms Sule pointed out that the state had also not provided transportation to students whose original schools that were nearby had now been merged with schools farther away. About the state having closed down over 568 schools with less than 10 students and merged them “other” schools, Ms Sule told the media in Pune, “Now those ‘other’ schools where the kids from the closed schools will have to go are more than two to three km away. Kids will have to walk four to six kilometre and more to their school and back. In my Baramati constituency, in bhill vasti, in Shindoldi in Shirur taluka in Pune, kids have to walk three km to go to school and again three km to return.”
“But the education minister is using smart words, saying that schools are less than 1.5km from the closed schools. The RTE provision says that schools should be within 1.5 km from kids’ homes,” Ms Sule alleged.
According to the state, a survey has been carried out and the opinion of teachers and students has been sought before merging the schools. “Where is that survey? Why does the state not disclose it in public. If villagers oppose the closing down of schools, the state cannot shut them down as per RTE. I know many villages where the villagers have opposed the decision. For example, Garmala villagers have opposed the decision but still, the school in their village has been closed down,” Ms Sule said.