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Wanted: Good Samaritans to adopt Agra schools!

Tuesday November 29, 2011 11:35:13 AM, Brij Khandelwal, IANS

Agra: An experiment to rope in activists, businessmen and educational professionals to 'adopt' - or, in other words, monitor and review the running of - government-run primary schools promises to revamp Agra's educational scene.

Launched by Agra's divisional commissioner Amrit Abhijat, the 'SAARTHI programme' has already witnessed 50 such adoptions in the city.

The volunteers are expected to keep an eye on how various school schemes are implemented, where the funds go, whether children get their mid-day meals and more importantly -- how teachers behave and perform.

"We do not expect any financial support, but the people and institutions that adopt the schools will have to pledge in writing their involvement with the scheme," Abhijat told IANS.

"The education department will provide them feedback and data support needed for monitoring the progress.

"The people who get involved with the programme are expected to guide and lead a new reform movement, to share their collective joys and experiences with children who need support, particularly from the underprivileged classes," he added.

Under various government schemes, children in primary schools get free uniforms, mid-day meals, textbooks and other facilities. However, there are widespread fears that those who need support are not being reached.

District magistrate Ajay Chauhan said "all-round development" of children could be ensured only when society gets involved in these projects.

Philanthropist Ashok Jain, sportsperson Har Vijay Bahia, builder B.D. Agarwal, activists Pavan Agri, Rama Shankar Goyal, Shashi Goyal and Vatsala Prabhakar are among the first 50 volunteers.

Scores of voluntary groups have also come forward to adopt primary schools.

"More than 50 primary schools have been adopted by various groups and organisations in its first phase. SAARTHI group will be on Facebook soon," sportsperson Bahia told IANS.

A school adopted by singer Rashi Goyal two months ago has shown encouraging results.

Officials feel the response to the initiative has been far more encouraging than anticipated.

"Due to lack of people's involvement, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had not been able to make a significant headway. But this initiative ensures that a large number of organisations and groups will get involved, imparting momentum to a very timely and momentous campaign," says social activist Shrawan Kumar Singh.

In Uttar Pradesh as in other parts too, the educational system, particularly at the lower level, is neglected.

"You have public schools, English schools and the convents for the well-off. On the other hand, you have lakhs of government-supported schools for the poor and the underprivileged where nothing seems to go well," explains Naresh Paras, belonging to a voluntary group for children.

"In Agra alone, there are 2,400 such schools and the government spends a billion rupees on them, without getting any positive results," he added.



(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at brij.k@ians.in)


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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