MLC, upset by a girl challenging the CM to equip govt schools with the best of facilities, takes it upon himself to introduce Bill that would force netas, officials to send their kids to State schools.

Favouring name boards in Kannada and a separate flag for Karnataka recently, the Congress government is now aiming for a different feat ahead of polls in May 2018. Riding high on Kannada and Kannadiga pride, the government is favouring a new Bill that will make it mandatory for public servants to admit their children to government schools across Karnataka. The bill, a brainchild of Congress MLC Raghu Achar, will be tabled in the Legislative Council on Friday and claims to have the support of Primary and Secondary Education minister Tanveer Sait.

While many in the corridors of power have supported the idea of the bill calling for compulsory admission of government servants’ children to government schools, the bill is the fallout of a challenge from Chitradurga-based 10th standard girl Nayana, to CM Siddaramaiah and Social Welfare minister H Anjaneya in September 2017 to provide facilities at government schools on a par with private schools. Bruised by the challenge, district Congress leaders, especially MLC Raghu Achar who represents Chitradurga, took it up as a matter of prestige and pushed for the idea. The MLC also ensured the release of Rs 1.65 crore soon after the girl’s challenge to spruce up infrastructure in Chitradurga taluk. The girl, who studies in a private school, was asked by minister Anjaneya to study in a government school which is when she was quick to challenge him to provide government schools top class facilities.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Raghu Achar said his private bill was not like any other private bill to be put on the back burner, as if the government does not act, he would resign as MLC. “I am serious about the bill and I have been demanding a chance to table it since one week. Only after an assurance from education minister Tanveer Sait that he would act on it, am I piloting the bill. If I am denied a chance, I will sit on dharna. I know Friday will be the last day of the winter session of the Assembly, but I will table the bill and give it a push.

Raghu said, “When I watched the girl challenging minister Anjaneya on television, I was taken back. Subsequently, I went and met that girl who firmly said that if facilities are provided in government schools, not just she but thousands of children like her would join them. I felt she was correct. I have admitted my daughter to a private school in Bengaluru as they have infrastructure. If the same facilities were to be available in government schools, then everybody will go to government schools.”

When asked whether the bill would infringe upon parents’ freedom to choose the right school for their children, Raghu replied, “Aren’t these government servants drawing hefty salaries and perks? Why cannot they send their kids to schools run by the same government? While they happily drawing salaries, they think differently when it comes to admission of their children to government schools. If they are not interested, let them resign. When I say servants, it is not just bureaucrats but includes us (political leaders, ministers) also. We are not above the law and law is equal to all.”

Raghu said, “Government schools actually have the best faculty. When anybody wants to join teaching, their first preference is government schools. Given the job security, the best of candidates join government schools as faculty. All we need to do is to add infrastructure and get faculty who could train our kids in music, painting and other subjects. If we send our kids to government schools, BEOs and DDPIs would also show more interest in maintenance.”

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