To work towards the motto of ‘bhiksha nahi shiksha’, the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board has announced signal schools, a project to convert public buses into mobile schools for out-of-school-children at traffic signals across the city.
The proposal, part of the AMC board’s draft budget worth an estimated Rs 887 crore for the financial year 2022-23, was tabled by the Administrative Officer LD Desai Friday.
“A survey completed this week at traffic signals across the city reveals nearly 150 such children at around 25 traffic signals in the age group of 6-14 years. At a few circles like Pakwaan and Polytechnic, there is a large number of such children who are into begging, while at others the numbers range between two to three,” Desai told
The scheme proposes to cover 15-20 children under each Signal School, he further said. This means one Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services (AMTS) bus will have around 15-20 children and two teachers.
A detailed action plan is being prepared by the school board as these schools are likely to be launched in the new academic session starting June. The budget, which officials said should not be a problem as the scheme does not require a large funding, will be allocated after the action plan.
An estimated Rs 35 crore has been allocated under the combined schemes of model schools, hi-tech schools and signal schools, along with renovation of schools. The children will also be provided mid-day meals along with other facilities offered at municipal schools, including medical check-up under the school health programme (SHP), and will be mainstreamed to the nearest school after a year.
However, convincing beneficiaries and their parents is an issue that the school board says will be looked into through counselling. “We will counsel parents and try to convince them to send their children to the signal schools. If required, we will take help of counsellors, too,” Desai added.
Meanwhile, the draft budget proposes 19 new municipal schools across the city, including the areas of Viratnagar, Jodhpur, Thaltej, Chandkheda, Ranip, Naranpura, Indrapuri, Hanspura, Bodakdev, NAva NAroda, NArol, Hathijan, Bhaipura, Vastral, VAsna, Maninagar, Nava Vadaj and Gomtipur, based on public demand.
Also, seven new English medium schools have been announced in Nava Bazar, Devnagar, Maninagar, Sarkhej, Asarwa, Jodhpur and Motera, and will be opened in 2022-23.
Furthermore, on the lines of the Maninagar model school launched this year, the draft budget proposes as many as six model schools in the areas of Nava Naroda, Thaltej, Shilaj, Saraspur, Memnagar and Ellis Bridge.
Currently, the board runs 443 municipal schools across six mediums with around 1.59 lakh children and 3,999 teachers.
The draft budget has been tabled with an increase of over Rs 120 crore compared to the 2021-22 budget of Rs 765 crore. However, more than half of the proposed increase in the budget has been provisioned for salaries under the revised pay scales. Of the total Rs 887 crore, Rs 559.11 crore will be provided by the state government and Rs 327.88 crore by AMC.