Over 110 schools in Karimnagar stare at closure

Some of them may be merged with other schools that have enough student strength

Shortage of teachers in government schools has been one of the most discussed issues in the education sector. But contrary to this, the government schools at Vachunuru village in Thimmapur mandal and Kodannapalli village in Gangadhara mandal have more teachers than students owing to low enrolment of students. The ZPHS at Vachunuru has 18 students and 20 teachers, while upper primary school at Kodannapalli has six teachers and six students. These are only a few examples. There are several such schools in various parts of the district with low enrolment of students and a good number of teachers.

In the wake of poor enrolment of children in government schools coupled with parents preferring TS residential schools, model schools and KGBVs, the district education department has been contemplating either closing down about 110 schools that have seen low enrolment or merge them with the adjoining schools to rationalise the teacher strength accordingly.

In Karimnagar district, there are a total of 424 primary schools, 76 upper primary schools and 149 high schools with a student strength of 38,208. Parents prefer private schools over government schools as the former has English as their medium of instruction. Also, with the increasing popularity of TS model, TS residential schools and KGBVs for their quality education, enrolment has been on the rise in these schools, which has impacted the government schools.

Another factor that has resulted in the low enrolment in government schools is couples adopting small family norms. The birth rate of children has been drastically going down in the district with families going for either one or two children. The parents who have only one child want the best education for their ward and they invariably choose private schools over the State-run ones.

So far, 27 primary schools and one upper primary school have already been closed in the district. It is quite astonishing that there are only 1-10 students in 47 primary schools, 2 upper primary schools and one high school.

The only hope for the State-run schools is the Badi Baata programme. If there is no improvement in the enrolment rate, the schools with less student strength would be merged with the adjoining ones. The government has also been contemplating bearing travel expenses of students after the merger of schools with those that have better student strength.

Expressing concern over the authorities’ move to close down schools in the name of low enrolment, the Telangana Rashtra Teachers’ Federation (TRTF) district president, M. Prathap Reddy, said the closure of the State-run schools would further reduce the literacy rate and increase the dropout rate, especially of girl students. He said the decision to close down schools should have be taken collectively by the local bodies’ representatives and villagers.

The Andhra Pradesh Primary Teachers’ Association district general secretary, P. Nagamohan, said the teacher and student ratio should be rationalised to provide children quality education. He also favoured the merger of high schools with others and converting them into residential schools for better results.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 1:05:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/over-110-schools-in-karimnagar-stare-at-closure/article27943455.ece

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