A recent report submitted to the central government shows that there has been no significant change in the student classroom ratio (SCR) this year vis-à-vis last year in government schools in Chandigarh, indicating lack of infrastructure with the UT education department.
According to the data submitted by the UT education department to the central government in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’s project meeting, the current SCR in government schools in the union territory stands at 1:52 for Classes 1-8, while the ratio till elementary level as was 1:57 last year.
The existing ratio is far from that mandated by the Right to Education Act, 2009, which states that a classroom must not have more than 30 students primary schools and 35 is upper primary.
However, according to current ratio, government schools in Chandigarh, both rural and urban, have an average strength of 52 students per classroom.
For instance, GMSSS-18 a total strength of 1,832 students at elementary level as opposed to just 27 rooms, which makes the SCR 1:68.
Likewise, Government Middle School, with its 2,463 students and 34 rooms, contains 72 students in one classroom. Both GMSSS-26 and GHS, Colony no 4, have an average strength of 91 and 96 students, respectively.
Some schools like the Government Middle School in Raipur Kalan are worse off; with just three rooms for its 514 students in elementary lasses, the school seems to bursting at its seams.
Meanwhile, SCR in schools like GSSS-Mauli Jagran, GHS-Mauli Colony, GMHS-Vikas Nagar are among the highest in government schools in the city (see box). However, there are some government schools, such As Government High School-40, (509 students and 19 classrooms), which meet the mandated SCR levels at the elementary level.
Overall, department’s data reveals that there are only 1,989 classrooms in 106 government schools as against a whopping 1,03,481 students, one of the major reasons why the department is forced to run nearly half the classes of government schools in two shifts. As reported by HT on Tuesday, monitoring is the major issue in these schools.
If the recent NCERT report, which pegged the learning levels of government schools in the city, is anything to go by, the infrastructure crunch also appears to be affecting academic levels.
‘Need better management’
Education experts called for better management in schools short of infrastructure. Anuradha Sharma, president of city-based NGO HamariKaksha, said that it couls also lead to better academic performance.
“The department must change the timings for school heads, especially of double shift schools, to ensure that the schools are looked after in both shifts. Additionally, we need to strengthen both mentoring and monitoring to get the desired results,” she said.
Educationists also called to give the academic responsibility of primary classes to research institutes, including State Institute of Education, Regional institute of Education and BEd colleges.
Meanwhile, various institutes of higher education in the city expressed their willingness to assist in improving standards of education in government schools.
While the director of Regional Institute of English, Sector 32, Sharda Kaushik said that the institute was fully equipped to handle such a responsibility, State Institute of Education director Surinder Dhayia said that the city’s premier institutions had the requisite expertise and the resources for the task.
“We need to promote the concept of on-spot training to improve the quality of the teaching,” he said.