Of 4,389 schools in the state, in about 147, the enrollment is less than 10

Agartala: The Tripura government has decided to hand over 20 state-run schools to International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), said education minister Ratan Lal Nath. These include 13 schools that were closed as they didn’t have any student.

While addressing a press conference, Nath said, “We have 4,389 government and government-aided schools in the state but over 147 of them have an enrollment of less than 10 students.”

The council of ministers, at a meeting held on Thursday evening, decided to hand over 20 schools to ISKCON on condition of providing quality education in those schools, Nath said.

The ‘Indian Tribal Care Trust’ a wing of the ISKCON, will provide education to the students in the remote tribal areas of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC). Although the ISKCON trust had applied for 53 schools, the Cabinet decided to hand over only 20 of them for five years. Of these 20, seven are in West Tripura district, one in Gomati, two in Khowai, three in Sepahijala and seven schools in South Tripura district.

The state government and the ‘Indian Tribal Care Trust’ will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with certain terms and conditions that include at least 30 students’ enrollment in each school. The schools must also get affiliated with either the CBSE or ICSE and the fees should be under the guidelines of the Right to Education Act, 2009.

Although the schools would be managed by the trust, the ownership would remain with the state. The government would also provide free uniforms, study materials and mid-day meals to those schools, Nath added.

Tripura has a literacy rate of 94.65% leaving behind Kerala with 93.91% and Mizoram at 88.80%.

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Meanwhile, former minister Arun Kar, who served as an education minister during 1988-92 under the Congress-TUJS coalition government, said that a number of schools were built during the Left Front regime on political purposes, ignoring the population demand in those areas. Those schools should be either merged or closed down.

He also expressed his concern on how private organisations will achieve success when the government itself failed to enroll students, despite having provided so many facilities.

The move came after the BJP-IPFT government decided to improve the education at the grassroots level by privatising the schools.

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