Enrolment in Chandigarh’s government schools at the primary level has come down by around 13% in the past five years, while that in the private schools has gone up by the same percentage. This came up at the annual work plan and budget meeting of the UT’s Project Approval Board for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2016-17.
The PAB report procured by HT also states that “the Gender Parity Index (GPI) is only 0.8 in Class 7, which indicated that girls are dropping out at upper primary level, which is a matter of concern”. The Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) took serious note of this at the PAB meeting held with UT officials in April.
UT’s director, school education, Rubinderjit Singh Brar, however, cited the 1.5-km periphery rule and said, “Hence, students from neighbouring Mohali (SAS Nagar) and Panchkula are left out due to this, sometimes.” He insisted that the data did not reflect poor quality at government schools “as students in large numbers are applying for Class-11 admissions in government schools this time”.
Arvind Rana, a teacher at a government school in Sarangpur, said, “For the past three years, in particular, we have to refuse admission in the UT’s schools to applicants from surrounding areas that fall in Punjab and Haryana. The education department has been sending instructions for this.”
He added that the lower enrolment rate also worked towards a better teacher-pupil ratio.
However, the board noted that the UT had not created teaching posts sanctioned under the SSA, and that “a large number of schools have adverse pupil-teacher ratio”. “The UT must ensure [that] recently-recruited teachers are deployed in a rational manner.” Delay in supply of books to schools and lack of maintenance of toilets were also mentioned.
It also set the target of no out-of-school children (OoSC) in the next three years. The UT had identified 3,967 such children (OoSC) and committed that at least 308 of these would be directly enrolled in 2016-17. Also, for Class 1 to 7, the target is to get all children to score 40% or above in all subjects.