Low enrolment of students
GUWAHATI, Sept 27: Due to low enrolment of students, State’s education department has merged as many as 20 schools in Kamrup metro district in the past one month. Apart from low enrolment, there were also many such schools across the state in which not even a single student took admission during the last academic year.
These schools with zero and low enrolment mostly included Assamese and Bengali medium schools in the city as well as the state, informed officials.
Apart from the 20 schools which have already been merged in Kamrup (Metro), education department officials are planning to further merge more schools together. Additionally, there were three schools in the district in which no student took admission in 2017. “All three of these schools, were Assamese or Bengali medium schools where parents do not want to enrol their children anymore. People are rejecting vernacular medium of study and a majority of parents now want to send their children to English-medium schools,” district elementary education officer Buli Gogoi Bhuyan told She added that the decision to amalgamate schools was taken by the authorities in order to bring schools located nearby, which have zero or low enrolment, under one administrative and academic unit.
Further, no student took admission in 476 government lower primary schools and 95 upper primary schools in the state in 2017. Authorities mentioned that there are close to 48,000 government-run upper and lower primary schools in Assam and around 5000 private schools.
“There are a number of private schools which have opened up in Guwahati as well as in the state. There has also been a considerable rise in the number of students opting for private schools instead of government schools,” said another official of the state education department.
However, around 75 per cent primary schools in the Kamrup (Metro) district scored low grades in the first phase of Gunotsav. According to data provided by the Assam Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Mission (ASSAM), a total of 708 elementary schools in the district were evaluated under the scheme, out of which 534 schools scored C and D grades. The process of merging schools involves transferring students and teachers to the nearby schools.
The state government began a scheme for this called Siksha Khetra- a scheme for amalgamation and merger of different schools. Under this, in order to save the administrative costs and logistics support of the schools, it was decided to merge low enrolments with other schools located nearby. This brings schools under one administrative and academic unit. As per the guidelines set by the department, if a school has below 15 students enrolled, they are usually amalgamated with other schools.
“Several parents of students studying in the schools said that since the teachers in low enrolment schools are not regular, irresponsible and have no accountability, they were against the merger of the schools,” said district elementary education officer of Kamrup (Metro) Buli Gogoi Bhuyan.
On the other hand, the union human resource development ministry had decided earlier this year to merge three schemes of the department namely Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE). The new scheme will be called Rashtriya Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (RSSA) and will comprise schemes for all classes starting from pre-nursery to class 12. The new scheme was also announced in the 2018-19 budget.