Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said the state government-run residential schools, which have completed 10 years, will have colleges offering pre-university courses (PUC) on their premises from the next academic year.
These residential schools will also have to conduct competitive examinations amongst students so that they are prepared for such challenges once they complete their education and go out in search of jobs, Bommai said. The Chief Minister also asked the social welfare department to give up its "tendency of spending money only constructing school buildings to gratify contractors". Instead, the focus should be on improving the quality of education.
"Start the Pre-University Colleges from next year in those schools which have completed 10 years and the students are in 10th standard,” Bommai said after inaugurating 'Science Expo-2023' of the Karnataka Residential Education Institution Society (KREIS) at the Palace Grounds here.
According to Bommai, the "quality education will not continue" if the students have to go to various other schools after completing 10th standard because the competitive examinations for them start after completing their Pre-University education. Hence, the students have to continue their PUC education from the same residential school, he said.
"Conduct competitive exams in these schools among the children. We have provided them a level playing field to find out the shortcomings among the children so that it can be set right and their capacity is increased," the Chief Minister said.
Bommai pointed out that the children studying in the Morarji Desai Residential Schools and similar other residential schools run by the state government are quite sharp who got admission by scoring above 60 per cent to 70 per cent. He said the target of the government is to ensure that these students score 90 per cent by the time they complete their education.
The Chief Minister took a swipe at the tendency of spending more money on constructing buildings, which benefits contractors. "We spend thousands of crores of rupees on these institutions. We are spending more on buildings and compound walls," Bommai said and insisted that the focus should be on the "requirements" of the students studying in these residential schools. Bommai said, "Stop giving money to the contractors. Change that model itself."
According to him, the spending on building schools had started from Rs five crore, which escalated to Rs 10 crore and Rs 14 crore and now it has reached a stage where the government spends Rs 30 crore on each school. "Spend Rs 30 crore on the arrangements (facilities) for children. On the one hand government money is draining and on the other, the arrangements required for the children are not happening," the Chief Minister said.
Bommai blamed the previous governments which he alleged had been splurging money on building schools, instead of improving quality of education. "This is a legacy that has come from the past from the previous governments to take up 'contractor-based civil works' due to which we have reached this stage," he said.
Stating that children belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backwards castes study in these schools, Bommai said it was the duty of the government to make sure about the quality of education. He instructed officials to give him a list of shortcomings in the schools and assured that the government will give grants. Bommai also directed officials to visit schools instead of "running administration" from Bengaluru.