Massive campaign to promote education in Gujarat

via Express News Service published on June 15, 2006

Three-day campaign will cover 18,000 villages, admit 11 lakh children, half of them girls, in Class I and offer bonds worth Rs 1,000 to 1.5 lakh girls.


Gandhinagar June 14: The Narendra Modi Government has mobilised men and machinery on a massive scale for its three-day state-wide campaign beginning Friday to promote girls’ education and enroll more and more students in primary schools. The government-sponsored campaign being launched for the fourth consecutive year will be led by the Chief Minister


Besides all the ministers, as many as 104 IAS officers, 73 IPS, 66 IFS and 293 Sachivalaya-cadre officers have been allotted different talukas where they will move along with the “Kanya Kelavani Rath” and participate in the enrolment drive during the three days. Modi himself will campaign in three talukas — Rapar in Kutch, Kaprada in Valsad and Garbada in Dahod — where the female literacy rate is as low as 20 per cent.


Giving details of the campaign at the post-Cabinet meeting press briefing on Wednesday, Education Minister Anandiben Patel said that similar exercises had been launched earlier only in those parts of the state where the literacy rate was 35 per cent. But this time, she said, all the 18,000 villages across Gujarat would be covered under the campaign.


During the enrolment drive, about 11 lakh children, including 5.25 lakh girls, will be admitted in the first standard. The government has decided to distribute “Vidhya Laxmi Bonds” worth Rs 1,000 each among 1.50 lakh girls living in the areas having literacy rate below 35 per cent, while for the first time as many as 30,000 girls belonging to the BPL families in urban areas will be given these bonds, she said, adding that over 5.46 lakh girls had been given bonds till now.


The minister said that in the last four years, over 44.10 lakh children, including 21.10 lakh girls, had been enrolled in primary schools across the state. She claimed the drop-out rate in Classes I-VII, which was 48.43 per cent in 1997-98, had been brought down to 11.82 per cent in 2005-06. In fact, the drop-out rate of girl students has come down to 14.02 per cent from 50.18 per cent during this corresponding period.


Patel conceded that there was a shortage of over 11,000 teachers in primary schools across Gujarat, particularly in rural areas. The government could not recruit Vidhya Sahayaks to fill up the vacant posts of teachers due to litigations pending in the High Court, she said, adding that “the process of recruitment may be initiated in a month when the court matter is expected to be sorted out”.


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