Chennai: Despite slew of measures, government schools fail to woo students

The teachers and activists demand the KG sections in government primary schools with enough teachers and other basic facilities.

CHENNAI: Despite a slew of measures like revamping old syllabus, introducing smart classrooms and KG sections, the declining student strength in government schools has remained one of the major challenges for school education department in 2018.

The state government’s announcement that 1,324 government primary and middle schools are having less than nine students and 33 schools have no students stands testimony to the slide that has started several years ago.

In a worrying trend, even the government high and higher secondary schools also facing similar crisis prompting educationists to demand a robust plan to revive the government schools in the state.

The school education department indeed tried to boost the image of government schools by providing high-quality textbooks, smart ID cards and issued orders to develop one school in each district as a model school with all the facilities.

School education minister K.A. Sengottaiyan announced that LKG and UKG sections will be started from January 2019 in government schools to increase the enrollment.

But the government order said the KG sections will be started in Anganwadi centres functioning in government middle schools on a pilot basis. The teachers and activists demand the KG sections in government primary schools with enough teachers and other basic facilities.

The school education department also launched Neet coaching for students from government and government-aided schools in the previous academic year.
Around 9,000 students from government and government-aided schools attended the coaching in 412 centres. It also conducted a residential crash course in April 2018 to more than 3,000 students. However, the number of students entering into government medical colleges has not changed much compared to the last year.

Despite 1,337 students qualified from government and government-aided schools in Neet 2018, only four students were able to join MBBS in the government medical colleges this year.

Now, the school education department has started Neet coaching much earlier in the month of September. The department is hopeful of sending at least 500 students from government and government-aided schools to medical colleges, a figure remains astronomical given the performance of students in the previous exams.

In one of the after effects of Neet and plus-1 board exams, over 20 per cent of students have opted out of bio-maths stream in plus-1 in state board schools this year.

Compared to the previous ministers, the present education minister is receptive to new ideas and even willing to reconsider some of his initiatives if pointed out.
Following the successive scams in polytechnic lecturers’ recruitment and Teachers Eligibility Test (TET), the Teachers Recruitment Board is not able to recruit a single teacher in 2018 with several cases pending in courts.

It has resulted in huge vacancies in government schools even the accepted that more than 5,472 posts in northern districts. The government has given permission to appoint temporary teachers on the salary of '7,500 per month. For effective functioning of the Teachers Recruitment Board, there is a demand to appoint a senior officer in the rank of the principal secretary as the head of the board.

However, these attempts so far have not transformed the government schools as attractive places of learning since the basic issues remain unsolved. So far, the school education department has made only cosmetic changes whereas the ailing department and government schools are in need of a fresh lease of life.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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