THE DISTRICT Primary Education Committee of Kutch has decided to merge around 25 government primary schools with other nearby schools as the number of students in each of these schools is less than 15. A majority of these schools are located in Banni grassland where maldharis or cattle-herders live. At its quarterly meeting held in June, the committee adopted a resolution to shut those primary schools where total number of students in the current academic session is less than 15. The resolution also proposed to transfer the affected students to nearby government schools where the enrollment is higher.
“The decision has been taken after it was observed that total number of students in some schools had gone down as low as only three or five. A number of schools in the district almost exclusively cater to the children of maldharis. But due to seasonal migration by maldharis, enrollment of students remains very low in some schools… Schools in settlements like Kasam Vandh, Dedhiya Vandh, Junas Vandh etc have less than 10 students each… Therefore, we have resolved to merge such schools,” District Primary Education Officer of Kutch Batuk Jargela told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
There are 1,705 government primary schools and 19 semi-government schools in Kutch, the largest district of the state in terms of geographical expanse. There are 376 private primary schools also. Jargela said that around 25 government schools will be closed down this year.
“Survey is being conducted in the entire district to identify schools where number of students is very low and to study the feasibility of their merger with nearby schools. In the first phase, we have identified around six schools in Banni grassland near Khavda. We are planning to complete these mergers by end of this month,” Jargela said, adding that the administration will provide transport facilities to the affected students to reach their new schools.
Banni, spread over 2,600 square km, is the largest grassland of the Indian sub-continent and used as pastoral land for by cattle-herders.