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20 schools still functioning with less than 20 students in Faridkot

Education minister had directed the department to close such school and enrol their students in other government schools.

punjab Updated: Sep 11, 2017 16:25 IST
Nikhil Sharma
Nikhil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
schools,students,education
Despite making lists of these schools, the department failed to close them in the shadow of neighbourhood criteria.(HT Photo)

The decision of Punjab education minister Aruna Chaudhary to shut down government schools with less than 20 enrolled pupils fell flat as schools in the district continue to operate with as low enrolment as three students.

In May, Chaudhary had directed the education department to prepare a list of such schools after the poor results of students in board exams. Irked with the disappointed results, it was decided to close these schools and enrol their students in other government schools.

The minister had claimed that students and teachers were suffering due to shortage of staff in most of the primary and middle government schools. The idea was to utilise the services of teachers deputed in schools with less than 20 students to institutes with higher pupil strength and lesser staff.

Four primary schools in Faridkot with less than 10 students

Recently, Faridkot education department identified four primary schools where at least two teachers were deputed to teach just four to five students.

In Government Primary School, Kothe Mala Singh, Jaitu, two teachers have been put on job for total three students in the school. The department has also deputed a cook for these students.

Similarly in Government Primary School, Chehal, Block-2, Faridkot, two teachers have been deputed to teach three students.

In Government Primary School Golewala, there are two teachers for only eight students. According to the officials, five out of eight students enrolled here are long absentees.

In Government Primary School, Mallewala, two teachers have been deputed to teach seven students.

According to officials, these schools incur financial burden on the department. “We can’t depute less than two teachers in a government school. Teachers in these schools get handsome salaries to teach a handful of students. There are around 20 schools in the district which have less than 20 students each. We are unable to merge them,” said a senior official with the department.

Neighbourhood criteria a hindrance in closure

Despite making lists of these schools, the department failed to close them in the shadow of neighbourhood criteria.

Dharamveer Singh, deputy district education officer said, “In case we merge these students in other schools, then the purpose of neighbourhood criteria suffers. The criteria says that students in primary schools have to be enrolled in schools at a distance of one km from their houses. It is three kilometres for middle schools and five kilometres for secondary and senior secondary schools.”

“If we shift the students to other schools, they will have to travel for longer distance. We follow the state policy and will take appropriate action as per the directions of the government,” he added.

First Published: Sep 11, 2017 16:25 IST