Lok Sabha MP from Punjab Bhagwant Mann on Friday flagged serious quality concerns plaguing government schools in the state saying parents have told him that their wards can forget books and pencils to school but not bowls and spoons.“A parent told me that his child was allowed to forget to bring books and pencil to school but not bowl and spoon in which he is served midday meals. Quality of education needs to addressed,” Mann said.
Demanding a ‘Student of the Month’ scheme in all government schools during a discussion on the Right to Education Amendment 2017 Bill in Lok Sabha today, Mann argued that such a scheme would encourage merit.The Sangrur MP also made a case for immediate recruitment of those who have cleared the Teachers Eligibility Test in Punjab.Taking a swipe at the TET, the Sangrur MP said, “The level of Teachers Eligibility Test in Punjab is as difficult as that of an IAS paper. Despite that several people who have cleared the test have not been given jobs and are demonstrating on streets. This is ironical because there are 14,000 teacher vacancies in Punjab.”Mann also demanded shuttle services in villages for girls who often drop out in Class 5 or 8 due to lack of safe commuting facilities.“Girls hang behind buses or take lift to reach school. Parents are forced to pull them out of education because to them honour is more important than education. The government must ensure safe education,” said Mann while supporting the Bill that was later passed.The Bill relaxes the time period for aspiring teachers to acquire minimum prescribed qualifications to teach at elementary level.Relaxation involves extension until March 31, 2019, of the previous deadline for training teachers which was March 31, 2015.