Rs 500 crore government nod to buy primary school furniture

BHOPAL: In a respite to students of government primary schools who are used to sitting on floor in classrooms, the state government will be spending Rs 500 crore to make furniture available in schools this year. An official statement of the state government issued on March 26 states that the government has made a provision of Rs 500 crore for facilitating furniture in government school. Similarly, another Rs 80 crore would be spent on whitewashing government school buildings. The government is also mulling to establish a sports stadium at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, it adds. The government seems to have woken up after a recent survey, which found that more than 94% of schools in 13 districts of MP, including state capital Bhopal, lack basic infrastructure. The study conducted by Child Rights and You (CRY) in 190 schools, including 141 primary and 42 secondary schools with 14, 983 students, found that there are "significant infrastructural gaps" in compliance of the Right to Education Act, 2009, even six years after the Act was implemented. The survey was conducted in schools of Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Khandwa, Mandla, Rewa, Satna, Shehdol, Shivpuri, Umaria, Chhatarpur, Damoh and Vidisha districts. The study found that as many as 183 schools have no benches for students. In the remaining seven schools, three did not have sufficient number of benches. Moreover, sources in education department said over 60% middle schools do not have desks at all. "In the absence of benches, table and chairs, students in state-run primary and middle schools are being made to sit on tattered carpets laid out on uneven floors. This is not only bad for students' health but it also affects school education at large," sources added. MP teachers' association president Mukesh Sharma said lack of furniture is a major problem in the state. "Making kids sit on the floor is undoubtedly a major issue in rural areas. No one even bothers to inspect these schools," he said.