Taking strong note of the fact that almost 400 government schools in the new state of Telangana have "zero enrolment", the Supreme Court has sought a report from an experts' panel on reasons for non- participation of children.
The apex court's concern came after Telangana informed it that out of 18,139 primary schools, 398 schools have zero enrolment, 980 schools have between 1-10 students and 2333 schools have between 11-20 students in year 2015-16.
"An educational institution without having a pupil is like existence of an individual without health, or to put in a different manner, life without essence or purpose of living.
Right to education has been made a fundamental right. It is the obligation of the State to see that the children between 1 to 14 years of age are imparted education," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
The bench, also comprising Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, said the establishment of schools would come within the domain of infrastructure which would meet the partial commitment to carry out the provisions of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
"There has to be generation of enthusiasm, cultivation of spirit and interest for education and sustenance of culture to send the children to school. The parents do have the responsibility to send the children to school but the State has the primary duty to create an atmosphere of faith so that the people at large believe that their children are going to be properly educated," the bench said.
It said that creation of awareness was imperative and it was "rather sad, nay unfortunate" that a situation has emerged where 398 schools have no enrolment.
"Therefore, we would like to know the reason for zero attendance/enrollment in these schools and, accordingly, we direct the Committee to go to the areas in question and verify with some of the members of the Telangana Parents Federation along with their counsel Sravan Kumar and submit a report to this Court within four weeks," the bench said.
The direction of the bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on May 10, came on a plea filed by J K Raju and others, seeking direction for steps to be taken for filling up of vacancies of teachers in schools of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.