Agartala: Tripura government has decided to hand over 20 state-run schools including 13 closed institutions to ISKCON to run them, education minister Ratan Lal Nath said on Friday.
The 13 schools are closed as they don’t have any students. In 147 other government schools, there are a maximum of only ten students, he said.
“The council of ministers in its meeting held on Thursday evening decided to hand over 20 schools including the closed 13 schools and seven schools from 147 schools, which have maximum 10 students to the authorities of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), who agreed to provide quality education in those schools”, Nath told a press conference.
‘Indian Tribal Care Trust’, a wing of ISKCON would run the schools, Nath said, adding the schools are located in remote and tribal areas of the state.
The minister said the BJP-IPFT government which came to power in the state last year after ousting the Left Front was trying to reform the education system in the state.
“Initially they (ISKCON) opted for 53 schools but we have decided to give them 20 schools for five years of which 7 in West Tripura district, one in Gomati district, two in Khowai district, three in Sepahijala district and seven in South Tripura district, would be handed over to them for five years. They promised us to impart quality education”, the education minister said.
Nath said the state government and ‘Indian Tribal Care Trust’ would soon sign an MoU and the terms and conditions include that at least there would be 30 students in each of the schools and the schools must be affiliated to the CBSE or ICSE and they should follow the guidelines of Right to Education Act of the Central government.
The state government would distribute free books, uniforms and mid-day meals and the ownership right would be with the state government, he said.
Tripura has 4,389 government and government-aided schools, he said.
Nath said the council of ministers also decided to introduce metered auto-rickshaw service in Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) areas and town bus service for creating a better transport network system to commuters.
Additionally, Tripura government will bear expenses of 3,000 students from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families if they want to study in private schools from next academic year, Nath said Saturday.
He said that children from BPL families earlier could not afford to study in private English medium schools due to high fees, so the state government has decided to bear expenses of 3,000 such students for studying in private schools.
“It is clearly stated in Right to Education Act, 2009 that schools have to admit 25 per cent of total students from local poor families at the entry point. Their fees are also specified in the Act. Our government will pay for all expenses of their study in private schools of their choice, Nath told reporters.
Right to Education was passed in 2009 but was implemented in Tripura only in 2011 after the state rules were formulated.
Surprisingly, no private school in the state placed demands for reimbursement of fees for poor students admitted till 2019, which indicates no such student was admitted in these schools, the minister said.
“Authorities of 10 renowned private schools in Agartala informed us that no students from BPL category were admitted. As per statistics, 24,000 students have lost their chance to study in private English schools with government support in the Left Front regime,” Nath said.