Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh lags behind not merely the other States in South India but the entire country in the literacy rate, said Lok Lok Satta Party president Jayaprakash Narayan on Tuesday, correcting Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s statement on Monday.
Launching the ‘Education Fortnight’ on June 13, the Chief Minister had said that he was ashamed to admit that Andhra Pradesh lagged behind all other States in South India.
Dr Narayan said that Andhra Pradesh lags behind all the large States and is competing with Jharkhand for the bottom of the literacy ladder.
The LSP chief visited two schools in Kukatpally constituency which he represents in the Assembly today, following their reopening after the summer vacation.
Talking to media persons later, Dr Narayan said schools continued to be in a pathetic state because the Government does not have the political will to improve education, although funds are not a constraint.
The State is likely to spend only Rs 700 crore of the Rs 1800 crore available for improving infrastructure under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Madhyamika Siksha Abhiyan this year, he said.
The former IAS officer pointed out that the State Government spent nearly Rs 15000 crore on primary and secondary education every year, incurring an expenditure of Rs 15000 on every student. Yet, most schools do not have basic amenities, he said.
The Government primary and high schools for girls (located in the same compound in Kukatpally), which the MLA visited today, have nearly 1000 students on their rolls. Yet the schools do not have adequate number of teachers, a playground or drinking water.
Dr Narayan said that the poorest of the poor, mostly from illiterate families, attended Government schools.
Seven years after education, 25 per cent of students cannot read a paragraph in Telugu and 75 percent cannot do a simple division. Absence of adequate number of teachers, class-rooms and other infrastructure are responsible for the parlous state of Government schools.
“Teachers are not to blame; if there is one section in society which is not tainted by corruption, it is teachers.”
With a view to remedying the situation, the former bureaucrat said that he has enlisted the services of volunteers to supplement teachers’ efforts in coaching children. As a result, the percentage of passes in the tenth class went up this year. The Government is implementing a Rs 5.5-crore plan, drawn up by Lok Satta Party activists with the assistance of volunteers, to improve schools in the constituency.
Dr Narayan praised N Seshagiri Rao and other volunteers for undertaking the school improvement project.(INN)