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Gandhinagar, Wednesday: Chief Minister Narendra Modi will himself lead the 22,110-strong ‘Team Gujarat' during the 9th annual statewide Kanya Kelavni and Shala Praveshotsav for popularizing girls' education and enrolment drive in primary schools respectively from tomorrow.

It will be held in two phases. In phase-1 will be covered 32,772 government-run primary schools and 44,000 balwadis (crèches) in the 18,000-odd villages in the state from June 16 to 18, 2011.

Mr. Modi will be present in Sihore taluka in Bhavnagar district on June 16, in Valia taluka in Bharuch district on June 17, and in Satlasna taluka in Mehsana district on June 18.

The ‘Team Gujarat' comprises the entire Council of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Secretary and all the IAS officers, senior officers drawn from respective districts, people's representatives and other officials. The Team will be divided into smaller groups and each group will cover five villages every day.

In phase-2 will be covered primary schools in the urban areas under eight municipal corporations and 159 municipalities from June 23 to 25, 2011.

The twin campaigns have started paying dividends, too. A comparative study of the Census 2001 and 2011 shows a 13 per cent rise in the girls' literacy rate and 29.77 per cent decrease in schools dropout ratio. The dropout rate in primary schools is now just two per cent. The Chief Minister's concern is how to bridge even this two per cent gap.

Addition of nutrients in the midday meal and health checkup of students had their pleasant fallouts too, by way of qualitative improvement in education and healthier children.

The reason behind the success story is hard facts. It comprised appointing 1,21,359 teaching assistants, including 10,000 Mathematics, Science and English teaching assistants for Standard VIII in 5,000 schools through transparent recruitment last academic year, and another 13,000 being recruited in 6,500 schools this year. Electricity and drinking water facility has been provided to all the 32,772 rural primary schools in the state, while 75,748 new classrooms and 50,914 washrooms were constructed.

The government distributed ‘Vidyalakshmi Bond' of Rs.1,000 to each of the 11-lakh poor girl students from a Rs.11-crore fund. There are other schemes to encourage bright girl students. The Chief Minister's Kanya Kelavni Nidhi has so far received Rs.44-crore for spreading girls' education from individuals and institutions, and by raising money through auctioning of gifts received by the Chief Minister.

Gujarat Information Bureau

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