Restrict number of sections in each class to four: directorate

Matriculation schools with more than four sections in each class have been warned by the directorate and asked to cut down on intake of students.

The director of matriculation schools said circulars asking schools to restrict the number of sections in each class to four, as per the Code of Regulation for Matriculation Schools, had already been sent. Schools were also advised to reduce the intake of students at the entry level during admissions time so the number of sections could be reduced in a phased manner.

However, it was found that some schools had not regulated their student intake this year. A fifth section can be added after getting permission from the inspector of matriculation schools.

“We had already warned schools to restrict the number of sections in each class last year. They have been given two years’ time to comply,” an official said.

Schools will also have to comply by the student-pupil ratio as per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, according to which primary classes should have a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30 and upper primary classes, 1:35.

“Classes IX to XII which do not come under the purview of the RTE Act can have up to 50 students each,” an official said. Schools in violation of the provision, however, said downsizing would be a Herculean task. The principal of a matriculation school, where there were 10 sections at least in each class, said they had created additional infrastructure and resources to match the student strength.

“Schools that have a strength exceeding 4,000 will find it the toughest. Even if we restrict the intake of students at the entry level now, it will take many years for the change to reflect as other classes will continue to have as many sections,” the principal said. He said his school had not restricted intake at the entry-level this year.

The correspondent of a school which has a strength of 3,900 said they had been functioning with eight sections in each class since 1996. “Though the restriction was mentioned in the code it was not strictly insisted upon, until recently. We have a headmistress each for the kindergarten, primary, middle, high and higher-secondary sections other than co-ordinators, heads of departments and in-charges for the subjects,” he said.

Massive student strength in schools raises questions about the safety and management of students and the level of individual attention. The principal of a matriculation school said it was imperative that a school head recognise all her students by face, even if not by name.

“It is not possible to have a personal rapport with students and parents when you have something like 10 sections in each class,” he said.