According to reports in Press Trust of India, the issue was raised through a call attention motion by Deepak Baiz and Satnram Netam who said that model schools which were being run in tribal areas had been privatized to reap profit. They pointed out that these schools had been established with the goal to provide free education to students in tribal-dominated areas but the state government had gradually privatized these schools thus compromising on the main objective.
Since privatization, the schools have been charging high fee ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 35,000 per annum from the students which is not affordable for the poor tribals. They also claimed that these institutes lack basic amenities such as drinking water and teaching staff.
School Education Minister Kedar Kashyap refuted these claims and said that these institutes were actually being run under PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode as Mukhyamantri DAV Public Schools. To manage the operations of these schools, the government had signed an agreement with the DAV Management Committee, New Delhi in a fully transparent manner.
The minister also said that it was wrong to claim that poor tribals could not afford education at these schoolssince all the 17,752 tribal students who were being provided with free education at these schools prior to the agreement continue to receive free education. Only the newly admitted students are being charged a fee.
Also for new admissions, the government has kept 25% seats reserved for candidates under the RTE (Right To Education) Act category. Another 8% has been reserved for SC/ST students. Students who fall in both these categories will be imparted free education, which means that 33% children enrolled at these schools would be receiving free education.
Kashyap also said that apart form these schools, there were hundreds of other schools which were being run by the government in tribal districts such as Bastar, Kondagaon, Kanker, Bijapur, Dantewada, Sukma and Narayanpur where no fee is charged from students. He also said that an additional Rs. 15 crore will be provided by the government to model schools to improve their infrastructure.
Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singhdeo, legislators from Congress, said that the DAV committee had been given control of both, the school buildings and financial matters. The opposition, unsatisfied with the ministry's reply, staged a walk-out from the House.
(With Inputs from Press Trust of India)
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