While the Punjab school education department is leaving no stone unturned to increase enrolment, many government schools in the district are struggling to arrange basic amenities such as benches, and classrooms for their students.
In a recent initiative, the state education department formed ‘enrollment-booster teams’ along with state-level, district-level, block-level, and school-level committee.
Director general, school education, Pradeep Aggarwal, said, “In order to make the enrollment campaign for the 2022-23 session a success, special enrollment booster teams have been formed. Last year, under the ‘each one, bring one’ initiative, the state education department had been able to increase the enrollment in government schools by 14%.”
Enrollment campaign initiated at full throttle
Principals have been asked to upload videos, documentaries, and posters emphasizing on their school’s achievements, and attractions, along with their admission ‘theme song’ on online platforms, and share the link with parents, students, and NGOs. The opening of admissions will also be announced at places of worship near the schools.
Teachers have been told to meet Asha workers, sarpanches, municipal councillors, and other influential people in their respective areas to inform them about the modern technologies that have been introduced into government schools.
“Nukad nataks (street plays) can be organized in areas around schools to raise awareness. Schools can also display academic and non-academic achievements of their students on the electricity poles, streets and markets to boost admissions,” Aggarwal said.
“Schools should get flexes or posters, announcing opening of admissions in government schools, pasted on cars, vans, and buses ferrying students to the school. Teachers should remind students about the opening of admissions during the morning assembly so that they spread the word. New admissions can be given incentives such as school bags, books, and geometry boxes,” read the director general’s orders, adding that helpline numbers should be mentioned on the posters, flexes and social networking platforms.
Focus on transgender students
Authorities have also been asked to encourage transgender students to enrol themselves in schools. The state education department will hold weekly admission review meetings with the district education officers and block nodal officers, and Aggarwal has directed DEOs and their deputys to hold weekly meetings with nodal officers pertaining to the admission process.
Not enough infrastructure
While the state government wants to ensure maximum enrollment in schools, many government schools in the district including Government Senior Secondary School, Sunet; Government High School, Giaspura; Government Primary School, Giaspura and Jahangirpur, do not have enough benches and classrooms to accommodate the existing pupils.
School libraries, rooms of the school head, and playgrounds are being used to adjust the students in the overcrowded schools.
“The department should limit admissions as only 40-45 students can be allowed to sit in a class. Schools are struggling with a shortage of teachers and basic infrastructure. Students are forced to sit on cold floors and under the open sky during winters. Admissions need to be capped as per the space and resources available,” said a principal, requesting anonymity.