HYDERABAD: The enrolment of students at government schools seems likely to decline in the coming academic year. Teachers, who were on election duty since September last, are in no mood to start the annual ‘Badi Bata’ enrolment drive as they even missed their summer vacation. They say parents now prefer sending their children to government residential schools.
These residential schools have been spruced up over the last two years. New ones are being opened across Telangana, and the existing ones have been given a facelift. The facilities at these institutions match those at private schools, teachers say, adding that parents don’t opt for Zilla Parishad High Schools (ZPHS) in villages as they lack even basic infrastructure.
“Government school teachers are stressed out due to their election duties, which went on for over nine months,” a teacher told Express.
In 2018-19, as many as 21,50,626 students were enrolled in 26,040 Zilla Parishad High Schools (ZPHS) in Telangana.
The teacher, who did not wish to be named, said officials from government schools would conduct the Badi Bata programme after private schools finish door-to-door canvassing to enrol students in their schools, and hence, government school teachers feel their programme would be a failure this year. “How is it possible to strengthen government schools in such a scenario?” the teacher asked.
Former president of the Progressive Recognised Teacher’s Union (PRTU) for Telangana State P Sarotham Reddy said that though the new academic year is to start next month, schools still don’t even have basic infrastructure, and so, parents are keen on sending their wards to the nearest residential schools.
‘Funds to be released soon’
The director of the School Education Department said instructions would be passed on to all district education officers (DEOs) in a couple of days to seek a report on infrastructural requirements, including toilets, compound walls, and repairs of buildings and benches, among other things.
“Based on the reports, we will release funds to the DEOs, aiming to finish all the work before schools reopen,” said S Pradeep Kumar, deputy executive engineer, Directorate of School Education, who is the officer concerned with regard to school infrastructure.