The decision is likely to affect about 1,300 schools. The state education minister is of the view that the low number of students in the zilla parishad schools, means that the quality of education is poor there.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Maharashtra government after taking suo motu cognizance of a media report that its education department has decided to close down zilla parishad schools with less than 10 students and shift them to other nearby schools.
The state government has been given four weeks for a detailed report on the matter.
The commission in its letter to the chief secretary has observed that the reported decision of the state education department would adversely affect students, especially, those coming from rural backgrounds and cannot afford education in private schools.
"Before an implementation of this decision, a thorough study on the issue is required to be conducted so that the right to basic education of the children is not violated," the commission said.
The decision is likely to affect about 1,300 schools. The state education minister is of the view that the low number of students in these zilla parishad schools, means that the quality of education is poor there.
The decision may increase the distance students have to travel.
The Right to Education Act says that students of up to Class V should have schools within one km of their homes, and students of Class VI to Class VIII should have schools within three km of their residence.
Among those forced to close, would be a school in the Raireshwar area. The students studying in the school will go to another school situated in Rairi area, which is 35 km away.
The journey to the school will take at least two hours. "It will be impossible during the monsoons for students to attend school," said a teacher, posted at the Raireshwar school.
The teachers and the parents have criticised the education department's decision, calling it absurd, unjustified and disastrous for the children.
They have stated that a number of students would not be able to continue their studies due to this decision.