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Satellite mapping done by the state education department shows that rural parts of the state need over 2,000 primary and secondary schools. The mapping process began in 2008 but the right to free and compulsory education Act (RTE), 2009, made it mandatory to identify number of schools in the state. As it stands today, rural Maharashtra is in need of 2,087 primary and 133 secondary schools. A total of 58 primary, 141 upper primary and four secondary schools are required in Pune district. A detailed master plan outlining the requirement of schools in each of village of the state has been prepared by the state education department which will be sent to the Cabinet in a couple of months for approval.
The areas or limits of neighborhood within which a school has to be established by the state have been explained in the RTE. Accordingly, for children in classes I to V, a school shall be located within a distance of one km from the house while for classes VI to VIII, a school shall be at a distance of not more than 3 km. With the help of the geographical information system, we mapped villages and determined areas where schools are not available in the mandatory limits. This master plan thus prepared revealed that over 2,000 schools are needed in rural Maharashtra as per RTE norms, said R C Patil, undersecretary of the state education department, who led this project.
A total of 30 districts in the state were mapped which disclosed that 618 primary schools (classes I to V), 1,469 upper primary schools (classes VI to VIII) and 133 secondary schools (classes IX and X) need to be established. In 2008, we received over 12,000 applications requesting us to start a school in their village. This is a huge number and that’s when we decided to study if so many new schools are actually needed, said Patil. How the master plan was prepared. The team tagged the present schools on 'Google Map' along with information such as the population of village and the school code. After all the functioning schools were tagged, the map gave an exact idea of where there are no schools (as per the RTE Act).
The education department team then decided the exact places in villages where a school is required. An inspection at ground level was then done at the new locations, natural hurdles if any were noted and accordingly the master plan was readied. Suggestions invited, The state education department through a government resolution (GR) issued on July 11 has invited suggestions or objections to the master plan. Suggestions are to be sent with reasons to the district education officer till July 18.The state directorate of secondary education will then scan the applications and make changes if necessary. A final plan will be presented before the Cabinet in the next two months.
Courtesy: Times of India
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