CHENNAI: The Chennai Corporation’s bid to make its public schools attractive to parents is turning out to be hugely successful with the addition of kindergarten (KG) divisions.
More than 5,400 students have enrolled in the Corporation’s 65 KG schools, with officials stating that the trend has been looking up since the addition of 25 more KG schools earlier this year. The Corporation, which is struggling to curb the drop out numbers in its schools, is highly likely to pursue the idea of establishing more such KG schools to stem numbers and streamline the entry of students into its primary and middle schools.
“The idea to increase kindergarten schools is in the processing stage. We will look to make provisions for it in the 2015-16 budget. Student strength in our high schools is good, so we hope this method will help us increase numbers at the primary and middle school level, which is where we have been losing out to private institutions,” said a senior official.
Officials said that the schools had been approached by parents even in December, with the civic body willing to take the children in.
“The children stay at school from 10 am until 3 pm. Although we are looking to shorten the duration, the parents are comfortable with it as the children will be taken care of until they return from work,” said an official.
Statistics from the Corporation show that among the 25 new schools, five schools now have more than 100 kindergarteners. The Chennai Primary School in Korukkupet has the highest number of KG students at 158.
Officials said that these numbers are mind boggling in that a few of the schools did not even have these many students across the spectrum, from Classes one to 12, previously. However, with the rising demand come a few issues that needs addressing. While the Corporation is proactively looking to start more KG schools, very few schools have the space to facilitate the addition of these divisions.
As one official put it, at least two classrooms would be needed to start both lower and upper KG classes, but infrastructure constraints persist. The civic body will also have to look into providing food for the students, as the KG schools are not covered under the State government’s noon meal programme.