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Enrolment, attendance falls in South Delhi municipal schools

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Attendance and enrolment of students in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) schools in 2015-16 are the lowest in the past four years. The number of new students has also dropped for the fourth consecutive year.

As per official data, enrolment of students in the SDMC’s 579 schools has fallen by 13 per cent between 2012-13 and 2015-16.

In 2012-13, when the SDMC was formed after the trifurcation of the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi, 3.40 lakh students had enrolled in SDMC schools. According to the SDMC’s own documents, copies of which are with The Hindu , 2.94 lakh students enrolled in 2015-16.

The average attendance of students decreased during three of the last four years. From 62 per cent in 2013-14, attendance went up to 68 per cent in 2014-15. In 2015-16, however, it fell by nearly 10 per cent to 58.70 per cent.

As these numbers paint a worrying trend, the SDMC is focusing on education. In 2015-16, budgetary allocations were second only to sanitation with Rs. 734 crore set aside for schools.

Subhash Arya, the Leader of the House and Mayor of the SDMC, said that the civic body had been trying to increase enrolment.

Blame game

“Every summer we have an enrolment drive to reach potential students. We are also working on making our schools better,” said Mr. Arya.

The Opposition Congress, however, blamed the ruling party for the dip in student numbers.

“The quality of education has deteriorated ever since the BJP came to power. The system is suffering. Even results of the Delhi government schools have been getting worse,” said Farhad Suri, the Leader of the Opposition.

The state of municipal and government schools have experts worried as well. Ashok Agarwal, a lawyer who has worked in the education field for years, said: “Government schools are bad and municipal schools are worse.”

Mr. Agarwal, who headed an expert committee of the NCERT on the Right to Education in 2010, said he had suggested that all public-funded schools be brought under one umbrella body.

“There is lack of coordination now between all the municipal corporations and the government schools. There should be one board or agency because right now everything apart from teaching is happening in these schools,” said Mr. Agarwal.

He added that a “class divide” was also at play, since the students of municipal schools tend to be from low-income group families.

“The teachers blame the parents just because they tend to be illiterate. If the parents decide to send their children to school instead of putting them to work, it is the State’s job to ensure that the child is looked after and educated,” said Mr. Agarwal.

An activist working with communities, Mr. Agarwal said he had stopped visiting municipal schools after seeing rampant absenteeism by teachers and political interference in postings.



Average attendance was 63 per cent in 2012-13, this has fallen to 58.70 per cent in 2015-16



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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:03:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Enrolment-attendance-falls-in-South-Delhi-municipal-schools/article14427184.ece

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