Published: 30th June 2022
Over 7,000 primary schools shut in last 10 years: West Bengal Education Department reveals
As per the statistics, as of March 31, 2012, there were 74,717 state-run primary schools in West Bengal. The figure has come down to 67,699 as of March 31, 2022
As per the statistics of the West Bengal Education Department, there are as many as 7,018 state-run primary schools that were closed in the last ten years. This also highlights the poor state of affairs in the primary education sector.
The statistics revealed that "As of March 31, 2012, there were 74,717 state-run primary schools in West Bengal. The figure has come down to 67,699 as of March 31, 2022," as stated in a report by IANS.
South 24 Parganas district experienced the largest decline in schools where the number of such schools during this ten-year period declined by 1,192. Furthermore, undivided West Midnapore had 8,040 state-run primary schools as of March 31, 2012. Now, with West Midnapore being divided into West Midnapore and Jhargram, there was a decline by 1,047 to 7,357, out of which 5,411 are in West Midnapore and 1,946 are in Jhargram.
Educationists worry that trends show bifurcated districts observe an increase in the number of schools. But the scenario is different with West Bengal as the situation in East Midnapore district shows a decline by 867 from 5,619 as of March 31, 2012, to 5,762 as of March 31, 2022.
Similarly, there has also been a decline in the number of students enrolled in state-run primary schools. The number declined by 6,08,956 from 78,04,684 as of March 31, 2012, to 71,95,728 as of March 31, 2022, as stated in a report by IANS.
Commenting on this issue, All Bengal Teachers' Association President Debasish Dutta said that the government's withdrawal of the funds required by these primary schools is resulting in the shutting down of schools and a decline in student enrolment. He highlighted that, "Many primary schools in the district have a single teacher. Once that teacher retires, the state government does not make any fresh recruitment and hence that primary school shuts shop."
The consequences of this decline will be experienced after some years when there will be a consistent decrease in the number of students of upper primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, said educationist PK Mukhopadhyay. He further added, "As it is, the school rates in West Bengal after upper-primary level are high. So now the situation can well be imaginable considering that there has been such a decline in the number of students at the primary level during the last ten years."