Schools of Eminence: Case of old wine in new bottle? : The Tribune India

Schools of Eminence: Case of old wine in new bottle?

Upgrade took place twice earlier; primary schools not in the list

Schools of Eminence: Case of old wine in new bottle?

A view of one of the beneficiary schools.

Tribune News Service

Neha Saini

Amritsar, January 31

To fulfill its poll promise, the AAP government in state recently announced that 117 government schools will be upgraded and turned into ‘Schools of Eminence’. Under the scheme, eight schools in Amritsar made it to the list in the first phase, four each in urban and rural areas. Development work defined under the project has already commenced in these schools.

The fact though remains that all eight schools selected from Amritsar are senior secondary schools and had undergone infrastructure overhaul under the previous Congress government. Overhaul of government schools has happened twice earlier in the state. While the SAD-BJP government set up meritorious schools for students with merit, the Congress-led government brought in the smart school project, giving selected schools infrastructural upgrade with smart classrooms and smart playgrounds.

Now, with the AAP government announcing Schools of Eminence, the focus again is on structural upgrade of government schools. DEO Jugraj Singh (Secondary) said the eight schools will get new buildings and amenities. “These schools primarily will be rebuilt, with expansion of space and facilities like toilets, new classrooms, libraries etc. The onus is on structural upgrade currently. We have sent an estimated budget of Rs 24 lakh for four schools, which is still to be approved by the department.” While there is no clear instructions on what kind of academic upgrade these Schools of Eminence will have, reportedly the senior secondary schools under the project will be for students from Class 8 to Class 12.

No elementary/primary schools in the list

Elementary schools have been kept out of the scheme, at least in the initial phase. There is not one primary school that has either been upgraded under the smart school scheme or considered under the Schools of Eminence project. The elementary schools in the district also need infrastructural support, especially those in remote areas. There is shortage of teachers and basic amenities. Some time back, the government had approved fresh appointments of ETT teachers to overcome the shortage but exclusion of primary and middle schools in the list has raised queries.

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