Agartala, The Tripura government has initiated an exercise to identify schools with a student strength of less than 50 and may merge them with nearby educational institutes, which have better enrolment, an official said on Sunday.

Tripura govt to identify schools with below 50 students, may merge them with nearby institutes

The exercise, which has been taken up following the Centre’s directive last month, is expected to be completed by the end of June, he said.

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“As part of a plan to boost the learning system, the district education officers were asked to identify the government schools having a student strength of below 50 for merger with institutes having reasonably better enrolment,” Officer on Special Duty , Education department, Kaliprasad Chakma told PTI.

The move is aimed at improving the student-teacher ratio, he said.

“After completion of the exercise, the government will consider all aspects and may merge these schools with ones situated preferably within 1 km or 1.5 km radius”, he said.

According to Chakma, preliminary reports indicate that the state has 800 junior and senior basic schools with a student enrolment of less than 50.

In total, there are around 2,500 junior and senior basic schools in the state.

After the completion of the ongoing exercise, the department will seek the opinion of school management committees and local bodies and then submit a report to the government to make a necessary decision for the merger, he said.

“The objective of the move is to reorganise the student-teacher ratio at the primary level government schools. It has been found that three teachers are posted in a junior basic school which has only 13 students, while many schools are facing shortages of teaching staff. The problem of such distribution of teachers may be addressed by the exercise”, he said.

Responding to the move, the state’s youth Congress leader Md. Shajahan Islam alleged that the BJP-led double-engine government has been “forcing the poor students to get admission to private-run schools.

“The BJP government has failed to improve the education system in its six-year rule. We came to know that the education department has initiated a process to close down 160 schools in West Tripura district alone, citing less-enrolment. Where will the poor students go? The youth Congress strongly protest the move”, he said.

CPI -backed Tribal Students’ Union general secretary Sujit Tripura claimed that the government has been trying to shut down many schools in rural and tribal areas to deprive the tribal students of education.

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