Smriti Irani looks at changes in schooling first

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The Union HRD minister Smriti Irani is said to have instructed officials to look into three proposals with regard to schooling in the country. Her first suggestion is to work out the feasibility of introducing buttermilk in the midday meals scheme.

This introduction will reduce the problem of amoebiasis commonly faced by school kids. The Mid Day Meal scheme is implemented in over 12 lakh schools across the country and fills the stomachs of over 13 crore children. The move encourages milk production in the country and provides steady business and participation of rural farmers in the regular affairs of the school, as per officials. Tamil Nadu and Kerala are already giving buttermilk and they can suggest the mechanism to implement it across the country.

The second proposal is to dedicate Saturday entirely for sports. Sports improve the physical stamina of kids and also adds strongly to the mental makeup of the kids, making them ready to face competition, face defeat and accept the victory of others. Lack of sporting facilities will be an associated matter to be looked into if this proposal is implemented. Many schools in urban areas have long since done away with sports as they run in multiple storey buildings with no open space. Parents are routinely tricked by these schools into believing that more study hours would mean better grades and better future.

Another proposal that is brought out from the cold storage is setting up of special model schools for high performing students, part of them under PPP mode. 6000 such schools were planned by earlier governments but the scheme did not take off as the public-private partnership aspect could not be worked out. Navodaya Vidyalaya Sanghatan is presently asked to look into the modalities.

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