JD(S) leader and former Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj Horatti on Tuesday made a strong pitch for overhauling the provisions of Right To Education (RTE) to encourage admissions to government-run Kannada medium schools.
Pointing out that RTE only assures free and compulsory education, Mr. Horatti said parents should be made to exhaust options for admissions in Kannada medium government schools and later in government-aided educational institutions in their neighbourhood before seeking admissions in unaided private institutions.
Under the existing system of admissions through RTE, students are being admitted to private English medium schools at the cost of government-run Kannada medium schools that are suffering on account of poor intake, many even on the verge of closure. Also, the State government is paying English medium schools at the cost of government schools. In 2017-18, the government has paid ₹684 crore, a figure that could go up to ₹1,200 crore by 2022.
Referring to meagre salaries paid to teachers by English medium unaided private educational institutions, Mr. Horatti said the government will ensure implementation of its order that all teachers should be paid as per guidelines issued on payment of salaries to teaches. “In private institutions, they should pay ₹100 less than the basic pay fixed for government teachers, besides applicable DA and other benefits,” he said.
Mr. Horatti said efforts were under way to merge the Department of Primary and Secondary Education with the Department of Higher Education.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had advised the Secretaries of the two departments to explore the possibility of merging the two like in most other States. “We should have a single Human Resource Department (HRD) like the one at the Centre and other States,” he said, adding that a single Ministry will ensure continuity of policies for students from primary school till higher education.