CHENNAI: Ambattur, a fast developing western suburb of the city, lacks a full-fledged government school to cater for the needy students.

Residents of Ambattur said though there were a few government-aided schools, they either provided education up to middle or high school level.

V. Sridhar of Ram Nagar said though there had been a good growth in the number of private schools in the area, lower economic strata families could not afford the fees they charge.

“Several schools charge between Rs.225 to Rs. 250 as tuition fees every month for lower kindergarten class. Parents have to be prepared to shell out money as most schools demand purchase of uniforms and shoes from them,” he said.

G.Natarajan, president, Government Taxes and Bills Payers’ Association, said Ambattur had several municipal schools and about 30 private schools. At least 40,000 students study in the schools in and around the municipality.

Most municipal schools provided education till middle level, but only a few of them were high schools. While girl students who complete high school have the option of continuing education at Kamarajar Government Girls Higher Secondary School at Ambattur O.T., boys have to choose from the private schools to pursue their higher secondary education, he said.

Residents said the area, with nearly four lakh population, was in dire need of a government boys higher secondary school. There is a risk of school dropouts at the higher secondary school as parents could not afford the fee structure of the private schools or the recommendations and donation demanded in some schools.

K. Arul Kumar, a resident of Ambattur, said there was a growing demand for a full fledged co-education government school. An Ambattur municipal official said there were about 20 municipal schools of which nine provided middle level education and the one at Korattur provided high school education.

The local body has allocated Rs.50 lakh towards upgrading the infrastructure such as provision of additional classrooms and laboratories and providing basic amenities.

Villivakkam MLA B. Ranganathan said there was a proposal to construct a co-education government higher secondary school at Ambattur.

However, it has been delayed for want of space.