Local Goa News

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Govt buses go 25km to get kids to city schools

Panaji : The Right to Education Act, 2009, may speak of the benefits of children studying in schools in their neighbourhood, but the Goa government does not seem to endorse this principle.

From 2015, some Panaji schools have shifted to the Cujira school complex, a move aimed at decongesting the capital. Since then the state has provided 19 buses to help in transportation of students to the complex. Official records show that of these 19 buses, five go to areas located up to 25km away to collect students.
KTC buses are being provided to schools at the Cujira complex, and students pay a concessional fee for the exclusive service.
Records show that these buses, provided by the state, travel to areas like Ponda, Marcel, Cumbharjua and Nerul to fetch students to school. This, despite the directorate of education's own statistics showing that Goa has one primary school available for every three kilometres in the state and a secondary school for every nine kilometres.
"The schools at Cujira school complex were earlier located in Panaji, from where areas like Nerul were not as far as they are now after the institutes have been shifted to Bambolim and so the buses become a necessity," one parent tried to reason.
But, it is a known fact, that the state's education department has been trying to fight off an exodus of students to city schools, with the directorate issuing a circular in 2009 asking schools to admit only students living in its neighbourhood. The circular was issued after a number much larger than what the Panaji schools could contain were seen pushing their way to get themselves enrolled there, while numbers dwindled in village schools.
Excess of students also leads to other problems like an unhealthy teacher to student ratio.
While RTE Act clarifies that it does not restrict any child's right to seek admission in any school he or she wishes to study in, it recommends a neighbourhood school as it 'is meant to be a common space, where all children cutting across caste, class, gender lines learn together in the best inclusive manner. It is therefore meant to be a site for inclusion, so that the school becomes a common space for education."

TOI Goa News

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