Sonia for curbing teacher absenteeism

“Why are other government schools not as good? One-fourth of the teachers in 10+2 rural schools remain absent. Admissions take place in good numbers but children who leave studies midway are sizeable,” she said at a function here to commemorate 25 years of the JNVs.

Inaugurating 31 new JNV buildings across the country via video conferencing, Gandhi said education in these JNVs, residential schools from Class es VI and XII, should meet the requirements of the changing times.

She said the JNVs were largely successful in attaining their objectives of providing quality education to talented children from predominantly rural areas. Hitting back at his detractors who had accused him of rushing an Education Bill, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said Rajiv Gandhi had wanted that the task of imparting quality education should be achieved in a few months.

“If people say that we are in a hurry, then I would like to state that Rajivji had said it in 1985 that this should be achieved in a few months,” Sibal said.

Sibal’s remarks could be seen as an apparent rebuff to detractors like K Keshav Rao who had attacked the policies of the HRD Ministry in a debate in the Rajya Sabha that forced the government to defer the Education Tribunal Bill.

Quoting Rajiv Gandhi extensively, Sibal said providing quality education had limited itself to encouraging mediocrity, which must be changed.

“One of the concepts which got lost in our drive for mass education has been that of excellence... everything is reduced to mediocrity, may be even lower than that. This must be changed,” Sibal said.

He rued that it was over 25 years now since Rajiv Gandhi talked about quick delivery of quality education, but “till today we have been unable to provide quality education to students.”

As the JNVs entered 25 years of existence, Sibal proposed to open schools dedicated to sports, arts and vocational education for bright students.

The JNVs that were inaugurated on Wednesday are spread across various states, including Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana.

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