KOZHIKODE: The general education department’s much-touted public education rejuvenation mission has not helped several state-run and aided schools attract students. As many as 217 schools are facing an acute shortage of students and 121 lower primary schools which include government and aided institutions are functioning with less than 10 students, while three of them have only a single student and one doesn’t have any student, as per the department’s data.
General Education Minister V Sivankutty revealed the data while replying to a question raised by Eravipuram MLA M Noushad in the assembly recently. The official data further shows 18 upper primary schools in the state have less than 20 students while 68 high schools are functioning with less than 25 students.
A majority of the schools facing the crisis are aided ones. Of the 121 lower primary schools with less than 10 students, 84 are in the aided sector. Of the 18 UP schools with less than 20 students, 14 are run by private managements and of the 68 high schools with less than 25 students, 31 are aided institutions. Director of Public Instruction Jeevan Babu told The New Indian Express that there are many reasons for the shortage of students in these schools. “However, the shortage in some schools does not indicate that the public education rejuvenation mission is a failure. The programme has been a success as it has attracted a massive number of students to government and aided schools in the state,” he said.
Reasons for the shortage of students in some schools vary. In some cases, it is because of the management’s disinterest in running the institution, he said. “The government is on a mission to tackle the crisis being faced by these schools. It is not the policy of the government to close down schools because of the shortage of students. Instead, the government is taking steps to resolve the issue by initiating special programmes for such schools,” he added.