SSA ‘irregularities’: AMC school board asked to explain

Following a representation by a voluntary organisation related to "gross irregularities" in the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) project in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation areas, the office of the State Project Director of SSA in Gujarat has asked the Administrative Officer of Ahmedabad Municipal School Board to explain and clarify the alleged irregularities. This was informed by Rajesh Solanki, Secretary of the voluntary organisation Dalit Hak Rakshak Manch (DHRM), at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

According to Solanki, the data available on the official website of SSA, which were checked by the DHRM, show there are 579 Special Training Programme (STP) centres in 41 wards of Ahmedabad functioning under the SSA project. The STPs have been evolved under the SSA project to bring the marginalised and dropout children between 6-14 age group into mainstream education. However, out of 570 STP centres, 212 centres have no children, he added. Each of the STP centre is being run by a Bal Mitra, a professional qualified teacher recruited on contract basis. And 212 STP centres not having a single child meant waste of public money.

Out of the 212 STP centres, the maximum are in Kubernagar (32) area, followed by Isanpur (28), Dudheswar (18) and Amraiwadi (14) areas. Pointing to another irregularity, the representation by the DHRM has also stated that one Bal Mitra is running more than one STP centre in Ahmedabad and some of these centres have no students. Under the SSA implementation norms, one Bal Mitra cannot run more than one STP centre.

The representation also referred to a statement by the Chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal School Board, Jagdish Bhavsar. He had reportedly said that there were around 27,000 "ghost students" in Ahmedabad only. DHRM, in its representation, demanded to make the figures, reportedly cited by Bhavsar, public.

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