PONDA: Angered by the government’s bid to merge a total of six government primary schools – four in the Veling-Priol panchayat jurisdiction and two in Keri – parents of children studying at the schools at Veling-Priol have directly appealed to chief minister PramodSawant to intervene.
In a letter to Sawant, who also holds the education portfolio, the affected parents said that the schools at Galwada, Magilwada, Gauthan and Apewal are set to be merged alongwith two others at Satode, Keri, which is at least five to six kilometres away from their homes. With the majority of land at Veling-Priol being used as orchards and their houses being located in the heart of such plantations, the parents are unwilling to let their little children walk for hours to the school at Keri through perilous trails. They have now threatened to admit their children to private schools en masse if the government steamrolls the merger plan.
There has anyway been a steady stream of withdrawals over the past 10 years as lack of government attention and facilities hit the primary schools at Veling-Priol rather hard.
“The parents and locals are firmly against the merger proposal. The school in the village is like a second temple for them. Instead of merging the schools, the government should be thinking about encouraging students to pursue education in vernacular languages,” said PTA president of Galwada government primary school, GautamSanganvkar.
In Keri, the government primary school at Arle is one of the two that is also likely to be merged at Satode, two kilometres away. Curiously, however, renovation of the Arle school building is under way, raising questions among parents about the government’s intentions, even as they claim that the building at Satode, which is expected to house the merged schools, is in urgent need of renovation.
“There are a total of 26 students studying at the government primary school at Arle who are likely to be moved. But renovation of the school's building is currently on, so the government’s dual stance is suspicious. If a merger is on the cards, then a fully renovated building will become a white elephant,” said PremanandGurav, a parent.