'Ashrama schools continue without serving real purpose'

'Ashrama schools continue without serving real purpose'

The report was prepared after a year long exercise by an activist

A detailed year long study on the status of Ashrama Girijana Schools in the State has revealed that the schools continue to exist without serving its actual and real purpose. Owing to unscientific approach, nearly one lakh tribal children have returned to their hamlets till now.

A study on ‘Ashrama Shalegalu maththu vidya vanchitarada girijana makkalu’ (Ashrama schools and tribal children deprived of education) by activist Ksheerasagar sums up that there has been a huge disparity in the sanctioned strength of students and the students admitted to Ashrama schools, besides lack of commitment on various levels that has failed the Ashrama schools in meting out justice.

Ksheerasagar told the media here on Friday, the study was conducted for a period of one year from 2013 to 2014, and the report running into 28 pages, was also submitted to Chief Minister Siddaramiah during his visit to the city in 2014.

As per the study, only 1,907 students were admitted in 18 schools (nine each in Mysuru and Kodagu district) against 2,627 sanctioned strength during the year 2011. A total of 720 children had been left out of the school, which may account for 4,000 such children (30 per cent), including the previous years.

A total of 14,035 students are studying in 118 Ashrama schools functioning in the State, covering 24 districts. Among them, highest of 21 schools are being run in Mysuru district (including four taluks), 19 in Chamarajanagar (four taluks), 12 each in Kodagu (three taluks), Chikkamagaluru (six taluks), six in Ramanagar (three taluks) and Dakshina Kannada (five taluks), five in Udupi (two taluks), totalling 87 in seven districts alone. In the remaining 17 districts, a measly 31 schools are included. 

The other reasons include inadequate salary (honorarium) to teachers, lack of basic infrastructure facilities, to name a few. Though the teachers are paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 5,507 through Keonics, Rs 3,572 is reaching them. 

Separate council

State convener, Tribals Joint Action Forum Karnataka, S Sreekant demanded separate education council to improve the waning academic status of tribal students.

Addressing the media here on Friday, Sreekant alleged that though the State government was imparting education to the tribal students by running separate Ashrama Girijana Schools, it had failed to uplift the academic status of the students. Barring 10 per cent of students who know mathematics, the number of students having the knowledge of Kannada and English was pathetic, he said. 

Sreekant attributed the dwindling education system in Ashrama schools to various reasons like the “moribund” Social Welfare department that was concentrating more on providing food and accommodation rather than the real purpose of imparting quality education.

“Strangely, the regular programmes launched by the government to attract and educate the students under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan like - Quality education, Nali Kali, Chinnara Angala, bringing back out of school students among several other programmes are not implemented in Ashrama schools. Though Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya stayed overnight at a tribal hamlet in Chamarajanagar district recently, it was merely a publicity stunt, as the people’s grievances were not entertained,” alleged Sreekant.

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