Himachal Pradesh Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj on Friday said the government would review the educational institutions based on norms to ensure quality.

In reply to a question made by Congress MLA from Shimla (Rural) constituency Vikramaditya Singh in the state Assembly, the education minister said that no educational institution had been closed so far.

“However, the government will review the institutions opened without laid down parameters and norms,” he said.

He said the previous Congress government had denotified 158 schools with zero enrollment and had merged 109 schools that had less than five children enrolled in them. “All these institutions did not fulfill norms. We will also have to look into the issue in a similar manner,” he added.

As per norms for primary schools, Bhardwaj said, enrollment of 25 children was must with the criterion of walking distance of one and a half kilometres. For middle schools, 25 children are must in the fifth standard, with the criterion of a walking distance of 3 km.

“But the previous government notified so many schools at the fag end on poll eve without caring about norms and without financial approval,” he said, adding that a teacher had come to him with a request that he be transferred elsewhere because there was no student in the school.

The Congress members alleged that the minister was playing politics while answering the questions.

While the minister denied it, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur too intervened and said there was nothing wrong in correcting the wrongs done previously.

He said he had the information that many institutions were notified just for political benefits on the poll eve last year without budget, without staff and without infrastructure. ”

If I start talking about this the list would be long. But the present government has a open mind and we will see wherever necessary, we will run the institutions. But if the strength of students is not there, what is the need of running an institution,” said the CM.