Project’s Jnana Deepa scheme caters to overall infrastructure improvement in government schools
The Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) has provided honourary teachers to as many 730 government schools across Karnataka during the current academic year in view of a shortage of teachers.
SKDRDP Executive Director L.H. Manjunath said the appointments were made on the directions of Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D. Veerendra Heggade, who was keen on providing the required education in rural areas for economic empowerment of citizens.
Mr. Heggade had introduced Jnana Deepa Shikshana scheme through SKDRDP for improving basic amenities and infrastructure in government schools three decades ago. He realised that rural backwardness was mainly due to inequality in education in urban and rural areas because of lack of infrastructure and connectivity, Mr. Manjunath said.
At a time when the number of admissions in government schools has considerably increased owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project managers decided to provide teachers to the most needy schools. Of the 730 schools that got honourary teachers, 178 are single-teacher schools, Mr. Manjunath informed.
Honourary teachers are provided to schools that have severe shortage of teachers in terms of student-to-teacher ratio. While the facility is a temporary one to tide over the Covid-19 crisis, SKDRDP has been paying honourarium to the appointed teachers. ₹9.5 crore has been spent so far on this initiative.
₹41 crore has been spent on the Jnana Deepa scheme that seeks to improve amenities and infrastructure in government and grant-in-aid schools across Karnataka. Recently, over 700 sets of bench-desks were provided to government schools in Uttara Kannada and a few north Karnataka districts.
Besides engaging in teaching activities, the honourary teachers also visit houses of parents whose children aged between 6 and 14 years have dropped out of schools, to coax them to send the children back to schools. The idea is to ensure they complete at least the 10th class. The teachers also get involved in organising various activities in schools to make them centres of attraction for students, Mr. Manjunath said.
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