Over 15,000 govt. schools see rise in enrolment for 2020-21

October 09, 2020 12:00 am | Updated August 06, 2021 12:41 am IST - Bengaluru

Some schools report 10% increase in student strength, several others record 100%

Many parents are pulling their children out of private schools as they can no longer afford the fees due to salary cut or job loss because of the pandemic.File photo

Many parents are pulling their children out of private schools as they can no longer afford the fees due to salary cut or job loss because of the pandemic.File photo

In an unusual reversal of the usual trend which sees parents rushing to private schools for admissions, enrolment in government schools has increased compared to the previous year. According to data provided by the Department of Public Instruction, 15,189 government primary schools have recorded an increase in student intake. There are 43,287 government primary schools in the State.

While the increase in student strength is around 10% in some schools, several schools have reported a 100% increase. In many instances, government schools have been forced to turn away students due to constraints in infrastructure.

The department is still in the process of collecting data for the 2020-21 academic year. So far, 42.5 lakh children have been admitted to government schools, 12.17 lakh students to government aided schools, and 40.57 lakh children to private unaided schools. Data for eight lakh students is yet to be collated.

For the 2019-20 academic year, 43.28 lakh students were enrolled in government schools, while private unaided school enrolment was 46.13 lakh and aided schools had 13.33 lakh students.

Gangadharappa B.R., Headmaster of Government Model Higher Primary School, Menase, Sringeri taluk, Chikkamagaluru district, said their enrolments from LKG to class 1 for this academic year stands at 245. Last year, the student strength was 185. “We have been taking up several measures to improve the quality of education in our school, but the increase in the number of students this year is unprecedented. Parents of 30 students have removed their students from private schools and enrolled them in our school,” he said.

One of the main reasons for this sudden ‘popularity’ in government schools is the fees. Many families are pulling their children out of private schools as they can no longer afford private school fees due to salary cut or job loss on account of the pandemic. “It was not a choice we wanted to make but we were pushed to make this decision for financial reasons,” said Gautam S., an autorickshaw driver who has admitted his son to class 4 in a government school for this academic year.

Government schools in rural areas are also reporting an increase in student strength as many families have migrated from urban areas to rural areas after they lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Rishikesh B.S., associate professor, Azim Premji University, said that there is a good chance of parents who have made the switch to government schools keeping their children there even when the crisis is over. “They will realise that the quality of education in government schools is far better than some of the private schools. Teachers at government schools will also do everything they can to ensure that the children are retained in their schools,” he said.

V. Anbukumar, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said that the reasons for improvement in government school enrolments could be attributed to the efforts of the State government as well. “We have started the Vidyagama scheme where teachers from government schools go to the neighbourhood where students reside and teach them. The government has also started English-medium sections in government schools, which have received a good response,” he said.

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