Now, govt plans to provide shoes for schoolchildren

The Primary and Secondary Education department has again come up with a proposal to provide shoes to the government school students, even as the government is in the limbo whether to give them free milk daily or every alternate day.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar on Thursday told reporters here that there is a proposal to provide shoes to children from Class I to Class V on the lines of a scheme being implemented by the Tamil Nadu government. “But no decision has been taken yet. We (the government) need to look into cost factor before taking the decision,” he stated.

Asked about the estimated cost for providing shoes, the Minister said the department is still working on such details.

Rathnakar’s immediate predecessor Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri too had said he would try to provide shoes or footwear to children through private sponsorship. He added  that he would direct the district level officials to look for sponsors. But neither Kageri nor the then BJP government took the plan seriously.

Milk scheme

Asked from when the government would launch the scheme to give milk to school children, he said the proposal is currently pending before Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and that no date has been fixed yet for the launch. “The burden on the government for implementing the scheme is about Rs 600 crores. The government has to look into the availability of resources and manner of implementation before taking the decision,” he stated.

The Animal Husbandry department had proposed giving milk every day. Siddaramaiah said the government's plan is to supply milk every alternate day.

Rathnakar said he has plans to implement a proposal to merge government schools from the next academic year to improve teaching quality.

“I am now eliciting views of experts and educationists in this regard. Merger of schools which have poor student strength will not only help improving the teaching quality but also cut down expenses,” he stated.

Asked how many such schools will be closed down, he said the government has not planned to close any school. “But, in my view the total number of government schools should be brought down from existing 40,000 to 20,000 in the State,” he added.

Rathnakar blamed the previous BJP government for delay in distribution of uniforms and text books to students this year. Steps are being taken to ensure that there will be no delay from next year, he added.

No decision yet on milk: CM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said the government has not taken any decision on supplying free milk to government school children.

Asked as to when the milk supply to schools would begin, he said: “I have never announced that milk would be distributed in schools. All I have asked the officials is to bring a proposal in this regard. Once we get the proposal we will look into it.”

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