Submitted by Editor on Sat, 2016-05-07 14:48 Bengaluru: Government schools are often targeted for their poor quality of education, and the clamour for their closure has been growing among certain sections following the implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act. But a new report shows just how critical government schools are to the oppressed sections of the city even after the implementation of the RTE, which provides 25 pc reservation for children from the disadvantaged groups in private schools. According to the District Information System for Education (DISE) report for the year 2015-16, which was made public recently, students from SC/ ST are still largely dependent on government schools. According to the report, a total of 54,05,920 students are currently enrolled between Standard I and V in various types of schools, including schools run by government, private unaided, private aided, schools run by local bodies, social welfare department, and the central government. Out of the 10,45,432 SC students, 7,00,005 students are studying in government elementary schools while just 2,38,221 students are enrolled in private unaided schools which generally have English medium as medium of instruction. Rest of the students are studying in government aided, schools run by social welfare department, local bodies, central government etc. The situation is no better among students from the ST community. According to the report, out of the 4.27 lakh students enrolled between classes Std I and V, 3.05 lakh students are studying in the government schools while only 85,851 students are studying in private unaided schools. “SC/ST students are making it to private schools only with the help of RTE quota. If this quota was not there, we could not have seen this much of students in private schools,” said an officer from the education department. Officials attributed the low enrolment in private to several reasons, one of them being the high fee in private schools. “Poor financial background of SC/ST families is one of the reasons why they can’t afford such schools. This report should be an eye-opener for those who are against RTE quota or closing down of government schools,” he said. But the trend is different among OBC students. Among OBC students enrolled between classes Std I and V, a substantial number of them are in the private unaided schools compare with their SC/ST counterparts. According to the report, out of the 33.95 lakh OBC students studying between Std I and V, 15.83 lakh students are studying in government schools while 14.71 lakh students are enrolled in private unaided schools. Even Muslims, who are considered economically weak, are opting for private unaided schools. According to the report, out of the 8.16 lakh Muslim students studying between classes Std I and V, 3.54 lakh students have been admitted to private schools while 3.49 lakh students are in studying in government schools.