Published: 12th October 2021
Jagan wants all government schools in AP to be affiliated to CBSE by 2024. Is it possible?
The CM's efforts to push education have been appreciated by all, but is the state government's apparatus prepared to affiliate itself with the high standards of CBSE?
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh's directive to ensure that all government schools in the state should achieve CBSE affiliation by 2024 is the latest in Jagan Mohan Reddy's move to revamp school education for the state. With the announcement of programmes like Swechha, to provide sanitary napkins to adolescent girls or with move to take over government-aided schools and colleges citing quality issues — there is no doubt about the fact that AP is trying to do a lot more in the field of education than other states, a fact that RTE Forum Southern States Steering Committee member Narava Prakasa Rao whole-heartedly agrees with. But what he questions is the lack of "homework" behind these ambitious announcements.
It was in the review meeting held yesterday that the Chief Minister set a deadline for CBSE affiliations, a point that has been much in the news before as well. In the same vein, he even asked officials to focus on proper infrastructure and playgrounds and even acquire land if need be for the same. But would that be enough? For example, 1.5 acres of land is a prerequisite to start CBSE-affiliated schools in cities of the size of, say, Vijayawada. "Are we prepared to meet the quality standards that CBSE is known for?" Narava Prakasa Rao asks poignantly.
Then there is the question of teachers and if they are equipped with enough knowledge to dole out the CBSE syllabus? And what about English medium skills? "We simply don't have the preparedness to execute these kinds of plans," he says reminding us that after fulfilling essential conditions listed in the Affiliation Bye-Laws of CBSE is when a school is granted Provisional Affiliation for three years, during which, it is required to fulfil all norms and conditions of the Bye-Laws.
But there is some time before we reach the year 2024. Is there hope that standards might look up? After all, in May this year, the State Cabinet gave the green signal for an exchange of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CBSE for affiliation. Also given the several schemes and programmes launched by the government to focus on education? "Yes, money is being pumped in but there is the eternal question of whether it's reaching the right people? Upon that, Andhra Pradesh has one of the highest fiscal deficits, let's not forget," he points out. So, what could be done differently? "While the move to affiliating the schools is welcome, are any of the stakeholders — children, teachers or the schools itself — prepared to meet the standards? A survey conducted by experts from the field of education of on-ground conditions first, that would have given us an idea of where we stand. We could have taken it from there," he suggests.