COVID-19 impact: Govt. schools survive, reopening after two-year closure

Four Kannada medium schools in Mysuru and Kodagu districts whose doors had been shut over zero admissions since last two years are attracting students; to resume functioning from this academic year

Updated - September 09, 2020 07:07 pm IST

Published - September 09, 2020 06:57 pm IST - MYSURU

The government higher primary school at Madhenadu village in Madikeri taluk, which remained closed for last two years over zero admissions, has finally managed to get some students.

The government higher primary school at Madhenadu village in Madikeri taluk, which remained closed for last two years over zero admissions, has finally managed to get some students.

Four Kannada medium government schools in Mysuru and Kodagu districts that had been closed since last two years for want of students and were on the verge of permanent closure in view of ‘zero’ admissions are reopening this year.

For, the schools have recorded admissions for the first time after a gap of two academic years as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the education system.

Another reason attributed for attracting the children was Vidyagama, a programme launched by the Department of Public Instruction for ensuring continuous learning, especially in rural areas with schools shut since long over the pandemic scare.

In a way, the programme has helped to stop children dropping out of schools over the break in normal schooling resulting from COVID-19 and engage the children who lacked digital aids for keeping in touch with the online learning systems.

The government higher primary school in Chandrawadi village in Nanjangud taluk of Mysuru district, which was closed in 2018, is reopening this academic year as it got 12 admissions and expecting a few more in the days ahead. Interestingly, seven admissions are of those who shifted from private schools.

Mysuru DDPI Panduranga said COVID-19 has caused financial stress and many parents were not in a position to pay private school fees. Moreover, the scare has made them rethink on sending their wards to schools outside their villages. All these factors are working in the favour of government schools, some of which have been saved.

A school in H.D. Kote taluk, which was also on the verge of closure for lack of students, has surprisingly got admissions of 150 students, including 135 from private schools.

The government higher primary school in Sonahalli of H.D. Kote taluk had just 15 students last year and efforts to get more students went in vain as students of the village were pursuing education in private schools outside their village, the DDPI said.

In Kodagu, which is returning to normal from last month’s heavy rains, floods and landslides, three government schools have survived from being shut permanently for want of students as parents have reposed faith in them and getting their children admitted in various classes.

Besides the financial aspects, safety of children is now getting priority since the students had to bank on private transport to reach private schools outside their villages. With uncertainty looming large over normal functioning of schools, parents are finding the local government schools safe and therefore shifting them out of private schools.

Kodagu DDPI P.S. Machado said people who had migrated to other cities for livelihood are returning to their respective villages unable to bear the impact of COVID-19. These instances are also resulting in admissions. The children of migrants are taking admissions and the department has made arrangements for the smooth admission procedure.

The Kannada schools in Madenadu in Madikeri taluk, and Chettahalli and Kundalli in Somwarpet taluk in the district which had been closed since past two years are reopening this year with the return of children. The Madenadu school has got 15 admissions while admissions are underway in the two schools of Somwarpet taluk. The departmetn would provide whatever facilities the schools needed so that they would continue to function without any pause in future, he added.

Mr Machado said impressive SSLC results in government high schools in Kodagu this year has improved their reputation and acting as one of the reasons for regaining admissions. Kodagu government schools recorded 81 per cent results in SSLC exam this year.

The staff who had been shifted to other schools over ‘zero’ admissions in these schools would also return for the academic year.

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