Andhra Pradesh

A welcoming trend reversal

Not long ago, the Zilla Parishad High School in the remote Mundlapadu village in Prakasam district was a sorry state of affairs. Snakes and scorpions were the frequent visitors to the premises, reeking of utter neglect in the absence of basic amenities. Adding to these woes, the school campus used to be a favourite hangout of anti-social elements.

But, this is a thing of the past. The school in Giddalur mandal now looks tidy and have clean toilets, safe drinking water facilities, new furniture, green chalkboards, even a smart television set. Surrounded by a compound wall, the school has a playground and sports equipment too.

The credit for this massive transformation goes to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s flagship ‘Mana Badi Nadu-Nedu’ programme. As many as 1,309 schools in Prakasam district have got a facelift at a cost of ₹330 crore under the programme.

And the outcome is encouraging. A lot of students are migrating from private institutions to these government-run schools. “Students come to the school early and spend time on the campus even on holidays as they have to tend to the garden developed by themselves. The student strength has gone beyond 600 now,” says K. Subba Rao, a teacher of the Zilla Parishad High School at Mundlapadu.

The officials say the renovated infrastructure at these schools will be formally inaugurated on August 16, when the campuses will reopen after the relaxation of the restrictions imposed in the wake of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.

All the schools have been provided with English laboratories costing about ₹1 lakh each to ensure that the students feel at home with English as the medium of instruction. The Prakasam district administration has plans to give a fillip to the infrastructure at 1,309 more schools at a cost of ₹300 crore.

“The enrolment in government schools has gone up to 3.51 lakh so far, an increase by 40,000 when compared to the previous academic year. We expect more students to join government schools after those reopen,” says Sarva Siksha Abhiyan(SSA) Project Director M. Srinivasa Reddy, adding that junior colleges and government-run hostels will be covered under the project.

The revived ambience has certainly added to the strength of the schools. The government now should pay attention to building additional classrooms and posting at least two teachers for each class, says K. Srinivas, a teacher.

Teacher-student ratio

‘’There is no doubt that this project is an excellent move to strengthen the State-run schools. However, the teacher-student ratio is far from satisfactory,” feels Andhra Pradesh United Teachers’ Federation Prakasam district president S. Ravi. “If needed, some primary schools should be merged to maintain the ideal teacher-student ratio. The schools still have more than 30 students per teacher as against the ideal 20. There is a need for having at least one primary school in every panchayat,” he adds.

Picking up holes in the New Education Policy, K.Venkateswarlu, a parent, feels merging primary classes from three to five with high school is a bad idea. “It is practically impossible for the tiny tots to travel to a high school located some 5 km away. This may lead to an increase in the dropout rate. However, the merger of classes I and II with the anganwadis is a good idea,” he adds.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 8:22:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-welcoming-trend-reversal/article35690397.ece

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