A school that is running out of students
On the sprawling campus of Government High School, Willingdon Island, the usual anxiety, tension and buzz before the SSLC examinations were missing. Nor were the sounds of sighs, laughter or curious discussions after the examination heard. For, the school has only two candidates attempting the first public examination or the stepping stone to their future.
Only one boy and a girl wrote the Malayalam examination on Monday. All the procedures that go with SSLC examinations had to be done for the two students.
The students miss out on competition, activities and excitement experienced by those of other schools. With both being eligible for first and second positions in all class contests, the thrill and purpose of healthy contest are lost. With low strength, programmes cannot be conducted in a full-fledged manner. It is more like a tuition centre. Sports day, annual day and other events are low-key.
The old doors, windows, walls and long corridors of the school have seen many sunny days and crowded classrooms.
Today, the total strength of the school is about 20, with about five students in Class IX and one-digit number in the rest of the classes. Things are easy for the headmistress and teachers.
When queried, headmistress Radhamani refused to divulge anything about the school, number of students or teachers. It has been sometime since the government school began to lose its sheen, with the number of students dwindling by the year and the authorities failing to lure them.
Deputy Director of Education M D Murali said that the school had the lowest strength and it is uneconomical.
About 38,000 students attempted the SSLC examination in Ernakulam Revenue District. “Among them the Udayamperoor SNDP High School has the highest number - 460 students writing the examination while Government High School, Willingdon Island, has the least, only two,” said M D Murali.