In a bid to cut down expenditure on teachers’ salary, other staff, mid-day meal, electricity bills and maintenance grant, the Punjab government has shut down 159 government primary schools having a strength of less than 11 students in the state.
Following the government’s instructions, the director public instructions (DPI-elementary education) had asked all the district education officers (DEOs schools which have a strength of 10 student or less in their districts and merge these with primary schools located within the distance of one kilometre.
As per official records, 27 schools have been merged in Gurdaspur, 22 in Nawanshahr, and Moga, 11 each in Kapurthala and Fatehgarh Sahib, eight in Mohali, seven each in Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar, six in Ferozepur, five each in Patiala, Pathankot and Tarn Taran and three each in Faridkot and Ludhiana.
No school has been merged in Bathinda, Baranala, Fazilka, Mansa, Mukatsar and Sangrur districts. Some schools were not merged since there was no alternative school within the distance of 1km so as to shift students.
The teachers and staff posted shifted to other schools.
Officials said merging of schools will not only help in giving financial relief to the education department, but it will also fill vacancies of teachers in other schools by shifting them.
DPI (elementary education) Harbans Singh said, “The merger is on a temporary basis. If these schools get more than 10 students enrolled in the next session, they will be opened again.”