The BBMP also plans to revive its mobile libraries and school on wheels to give education a boost.
Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagaraPalike (BBMP) is planning to start evening schools in nearly all its wards. The evening schools, targeting about 10,000 students will be established under ‘Vidyarthi Belaku’ scheme for the next academic year. The education department is collaborating with Agastya Foundation.
Evening classes will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The education department will launch 10 pilot projects for around 400 students. A senior Assistant Director of Education at BBMP said, “230 centres across BBMP schools, colleges and government colleges in Bengaluru City have been approved.”
Poornima, headmistress of Government High School, Kumbalgodu said, “Although child labor is banned in India, it is still prevalent in the society. Children drop out of school to work with their parents and help them. So, BBMP coming up with these evening schools will help them get an education.”
She said the government should focus on children from slum areas, those with health issues and the floating population, referring to the migrant labors who work at construction sites and move to other places after the work is complete. She said the BBMP should conduct surveys and set up schools where there is a concentration of such children. She said, “BBMP should set up the schools where the students are, instead of asking students to reach where the schools are. If there is a problem of space, they can use the government school buildings.”
Documents show the cost per centre will be approximately Rs. 3,500 per month and the total cost of the project is expected to be around Rs. 25-30 lakhs. The BBMP also hopes to establish Mobile Anganwadis, Mobile Information Technology Centre (ITC Lab), Science Lab under the ‘School on Wheels’ in all wards. School on Wheels aims to provide elementary education to underprivileged children, especially children who are left out of school. Under School on Wheels, BBMP has purchased 10 buses and which will be sent to eight zones with an additional bus each for South Zone and RR Nagar Zone. All buses will have teaching and non-teaching staff with all required books and other equipment. The BBMP further plans to establish reading rooms across all libraries and open libraries.
Basavrajegowda, a block education officer said, “As of now, I am not aware of BBMP’s plan for evening schools. It might take 10-15 days for us to know and work towards the set targets.”
BBMP also plans to increase the number of mobile libraries in the city. They will tour various places in Bengaluru and allow citizens to borrow books of their choice.
However, mobile libraries are not a new thing in Karnataka as the government’s department of public libraries had launched an initiative involving two blue buses touring areas in the city that do not have public lending libraries. These buses, Dr S R Ranganathan’s and D Devaraj Urs mobile library, have been on the road for over 20 years. As reported by the Deccan Herald, the buses run from and return to the Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall in Cubbon Park between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday.
However, reports show BBMP needs to buy vehicles for the mobile libraries. An official quoted in BangaloreMirror said, “It may be difficult to build physical libraries in all zones. As libraries may not be close to people’s residences, many don’t visit them…Hence, it has been decided to increase the number of such libraries.”
Narayan Swamy, secretary to the Administrator, BBMP said the BBMP has about 362 physical libraries and there are plans for expansion.
The senior assistant director said, “Around 16,000 students were studying in our schools before the COVID-19 pandemic and there are about 26,000 students that are studying here now. So, the need for libraries is also more.”
Providing comprehensive and quality education in BBMP schools and colleges is also a target for 2023-24 under the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s ‘Dream School’/ ‘Kanasina Shale’. For this, 17 schools have been selected across Bengaluru and Rs. one lakh has been allocated for their upgradation.
Rajyasree, a retired Government School principal said, “Coming up with more schools is not necessary, the government should instead shift their focus on using the existing resources appropriately. The existing schools do not have adequate facilities, including the staff to focus on children who go to schools. The focus should be the academic development of the child.”
She said students who are already enrolled in the schools visit schools only to eat, play and come back. The focus should be on providing personal attention to the child so that their education helps them develop into a citizen who contributes to society. However, she said, “Parents also have an important part to play in how a child turns out, and sometimes that aspect is overlooked.”
The BBMP also intends to provide books in schools, colleges, libraries, parks and outdoor theatres. The Palike has also received a grant of Rs. 180 crores under the Chief Minster ‘Amrutha Nagarothana’ which will be used for the construction of 42 new school/college buildings, and five residential schools aimed at providing quality education to about 5000 students.
A competitive examination coaching centre is also proposed at Gandhinagar High School, for BBMP degree college students. Moreover, it is also proposed by the BBMP to initiate Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS), and Banking and Common Admission Test (CAT) training programmes for students studying in graduate and postgraduate BBMP colleges.