Published: 03rd January 2019
Nearly 9k schools in TN don't have enough students. Here's why
Salem topped the list of low enrolment in schools, district-wise, with 821 government schools having less than 25 students each
8,900 schools across 32 districts in Tamil Nadu has low student enrolment, according to data collected by the state school education department from chief educational officers (CEO). Salem topped the list of low enrolment in schools, district-wise, with 821 government schools having less than 25 students each.
Commenting on this scenario, educationalist Prince Gajendra Babu said that there are some cumulative factors that might have led to below par student enrolment in government schools across the state.
"The 86th amendment said 'who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.' However, the new insertion, article 21A said 'The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.' Now, my question would be, is the state or the central government carrying out their responsibility to provide equal education to everyone? I don't think so. Instead, they have been carrying out a systematic demolition of government schools.
The Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which mandates a minimum of 25 per cent free seats for children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups (EWS) in all private unaided primary schools, also turns out to be a disadvantage for the government schools. The government schools only induct students from Class 1 and not LKG level. Thus, students are forced to get admission in private schools at their entry level," Prince explains.
Prince adds that it is also unfair to expect parents to admit their wards in schools without basic facilities or adequate teaching staff, which is in most cases the scenario in government schools across the country.
"Teachers do not have the same responsibilities as earlier, they also have to administer office and clerical jobs, so where will they find time to be in class? Why doesn't the government employ separate office staff and separate teachers for various subjects? Unless these problems are solved, the enrolment wouldn't see an increase," he says.
Demolishing health and nutrition schemes in government schools, not including mother tongue as a medium of education, are some other pertinent factors that might have led to the low enrolment of students, says Prince. "The children don't understand what is being taught, it is gradually killing the learning process. They should be taught through the process of hearing, speaking, reading and then writing but instead, they are made to read and write in a foreign language that is not their mother tongue. Unless the system is put in place, enrolments are not likely to increase anytime soon," concludes Prince.
Number of schools with low enrolment (District-wise):