While the governments, both at the centre as well as the state, are pushing for free and compulsory schooling for all, less focus has been given to the improvement of quality of education being imparted at the government-run schools. This has tarnished the image of government schools in the last couple of years.
Consequently, many parents in the city are running from pillar to post knocking the doors of private schools to get their wards admitted through Right to Education. With the number of beneficiaries increasing with every passing day, most of the parents return disappointed and admit their wards in government schools as the last resort.
No one seems to take interest in addressing this palpable issue as evident by the incessant decline in the admissions at the century-old government college in Ashokapuram. Surprisingly, the school has been adopted by former minister V Srinivas Prasad. However, this is not only the case but the issue pertaining to the decline of admission is same in almost all the government schools in the city.
Prasad, along with his like-minded friends former Mayor Purushotham and former Deputy Mayor G Lingaiah, had adopted the school in Ashokapuram when he was a Union Minister in NDA government. The school, which was in a dilapidated state, was repaired and all the basic amenities were provided. But, less attention, apparently, was given to ensure the quality education, depriving the poor class in the area of a good school.
In last 15 years, not less than Rs 5 crore (amount collected from the revenue and government grants) was pumped into the school for upgrading the basic infrastructure. However, the admission numbers are declining every year in primary, higher primary and high school sections.
The strength for standard 1st to 7th is 70 at present as against 135 two years ago. In the same way, there are only 46 admissions this year as against 64 in 2014-15. The figures are alarming that despite the areas where the school is located having majority of the population falling under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category, this government shool is drastically failing to attract more students.
If this remains the scenario, the school, to no one’s surprise, would be permanently shut, similar to many other schools in the state. This will further deprive the children from financially weaker section of “free and compulsory education.”
Speaking to City Today, Purushotham maintained that it was not because of the quality of education that parents’ were choosing private over government schools but was a result of governments giving more prominence to private schools.
“It is a wrong perception that teachers in government schools are less qualified than those teaching in private schools. All the teachers in government schools are well-qualified. But, in fact, the privatisation of education has resulted in a big blow to government-run schools with people striving to get admission in private schools through RTE,” Purushotham explained.
The decline in the admission was obvious for a reason that Ashokapuram alone has 15 private schools and people’s attraction towards them thinking their wards would get better education there compare to government schools, he said, adding, “We are, in future, planning to start PU college for girls in the school.”
One of the residents who had enrolled her daughter in private school said that as she can admit her daughter at a private school for free under RTE, she would bother less about government schools. “My daughter can get better education at a private school than in a government school. Moreover, I don’t have to pay a penny,” she added.
The school management admitted that the decline in the admissions had become a challenge as they afraid of the closure of the century-old school if this remains the scenario.