New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday appealed to HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju to relax the '5-km distance' criteria under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan to boost school-level education in the state.

RMSA is a shared scheme of the Centre and state government to achieve universalisation of secondary education and to contain dropout after elementary education.

The scheme aims to provide a secondary school within a reachable distance of any habitation, which should be 5 km for
secondary school. Badal urged Raju to relax the 'distance condition' to the extent of 3 km instead of 5 km subject to village population of 1,500 and above, and availability of at least 20 students to be admitted in Class IX and X under the scheme.

He informed Raju that his government had already upgraded many schools from middle to secondary/senior secondary before
the start of RMSA. "Henceforth, for many schools 'distance condition' was not being met for up-gradation from middle to secondary schools whereas these schools were located in villages with large population," he said.

Consequently, the state government is not getting its due share from the Centre under RMSA which amounted to penalizing the state for the good work done in the past, Badal said. Raju said he would soon take up the matter for relaxing the norms under RMSA. The Minister also said he would send a team of senior officers to Central University Ghudda for resolving the issues in its construction.

He said he would soon convene a meeting of the Ministry to review the status of World Class University at Amritsar so as to execute this prestigious project at the earliest.

(Agencies)

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