HYDERABAD: IF the Education Department’s latest recommendations are implemented successfully, the State’s Model Schools will soon be taking steps to not only improve the academic standard of the students but also inspire them to become good role models and better citizens. During a review meeting with the principals of these model schools, Education Secretary B Janardhan Reddy and Commissioner and Director of School Education Department T Vijaya Kumar suggested that the schools should make use of the CSR portal of the government and try to obtain financial and non-financial aid from private entities and individuals with an aim to improve the infrastructure at their respective institutions. However, the main focus of the meeting was the overall development of students with the Education Department officials suggesting a few measures to improve the communication skills of the pupils.
The first of their recommendations is to observe each Saturday as the “Day of Expression” when the student will be encouraged to express not just their views and ideas but also their skills and emotions.
“This will help in developing their communication skills, removing stage fear, instil confidence and make them better orators. We are also hopeful that this will improve the attendance in our model schools,” said G Ramu, Principal of Model School in Veligonda. As part of this plan, the teachers, in addition to their regular teaching duties, will plan and arrange for eminent personalities to visit the schools, to interact and inspire the students.
Month of attendance
During the meeting, Education Secretary B Janardhan Reddy also took a serious view of the poor attendance in these schools -- which are semi-residential and concentrated in the rural pockets that are far away from district headquarters, and designated August as the “month of attendance” and has urged all schools to ensure 100 per cent attendance.
“There is widespread absenteeism in Model Schools even though we have better infrastructure facilities than the normal government schools. Teachers have been instructed to follow up on absent students. Though it is an additional burden on already short-staffed teachers, at least one teacher in each school during her leisure period will make calls to parents to enquire about the reasons for the child’s absence,” said Kranti Kumar, vice-president of Telangana State Model School Teachers Federation (TSMSTF).
In 194 Model Schools across the state that cater to 1,30,087 students ( 95,829 in High School and 34,285 in Intermediate level), teacher crunch is a major issue with 1,008 of the 3,880 posts lying vacant.
Despite this, enrolment figures from 2015-16 academic year to 2019-20 (admission still under process) have shown a steady increase in the numbers at both high schools (classes 9 and 10) as well as Intermediate level. In the last five years, the total enrolment in Model Schools rose sprung up from 83,130 (2015-16) to 1,30,087 (2019-20).
Teachers, meanwhile, lamented that despite holding a six-hour-long meeting with the Model Schools employees, the officials were mum on the recruitment, medical reimbursement and service rules.
A teacher on the condition of anonymity said that Model Schools have scope to do very well since they are English medium and cater to rural children but unless teachers are incentivised no measures can be implemented effectively.
“Teachers are unhappy that PRC (pay revision commission) and IR (interim relief) have also not happened. Vacant positions are being filled temporarily with contract teachers but fresh recruitment is not being done,” he added.