Student-drought at GVMC schools

In the last two years, there has been a great dip in the number of students enrolling at GVMC schools.



After the district education department shut down 80 private schools in Vishakhapatnam because they are unsafe, unrecognizable, and for hiking fees, nearly 5000 students in the city do not have a school to go to at present. Yet, none of them are making any moves to join the GVMC schools. Instead, most parents are enrolling their children in private schools.

The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has a total of 149 schools, which include 118 private schools, 4 upper primary and 27 high schools within its limits and a total of 895 teachers with professional degrees. Every year, under the Sweekaram programme, the GVMC develops infrastructure with donations. Last academic year, GVMC collected Rs 1.2 crore as donations under the programme and improved infrastructures like toilets, compound walls, buildings and provisions such as benches in some schools.

Remarkably, out of a total capacity of 45000, GVMC schools were only able to admit 20,725 students in 2015-16. This year, the target is set at 22,000, which is less than 50% of the total capacity. Despite having qualified teachers and requisite infrastructure, these schools are failing to attract students every year. The question is that why are parents sending their children to private schools which don't even have such facilities and also collect hefty sums in the form of fees?

Narava Prakasa Rao, retired vice-principal of Mrs. AVN College and founder secretary of Bala Vikas Foundation gives us the answer. “It’s understood why parents are keen to send their children to private schools. They provide safety, special care for children, uniform maintenance, discipline and English as their medium of education. On the other hand, GVMC schools do not provide individual attention to students. Besides, you don’t have a security guard there, the compound walls are broken, no authority, no parent-teacher meetings and no competitive spirit among the teachers,” he said.


He suggested that GVMC commissioner Pravin Kumar must implement proper monitoring mechanism to check the progress of teachers and students all year.

However, a GVMC school teacher at Kancharapalem said, "A teacher can never be a reason behind the failure of GVMC schools to attract students. GVMC schools will not improve until the government takes sincere efforts. The government including its ministers are pointing out lapses in the system, but not interested in correcting them. Nearly 80% of the students who join GVMC schools are the children of lower-income groups," the teacher said.

GVMC sources as well as experts in the field of school education and psychologists attribute the gap to various reasons including lack of English medium teaching in all the schools, insecurity among parents about the future of their wards studying in GVMC schools and a prevailing prejudice about the students going to these schools who mostly hail from weaker sections of the society.

However, the good news is that the government is already considering implementing English in the municipal schools.

Image courtesy: The Hindu



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