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HARYANA-Covid-hit parents shift wards from pvt to govt schools

August 06, 2020 07:00 AM


Covid-hit parents shift wards from pvt to govt schools

A total of 2,453 private school students have shifted to government schools in Gurugram since April 1 this year. yogesh kumar/ ht file
Sadia Akhtar

Gurugram : Last month, Laxminarayan Shashtri got his 16-year-old son admitted to a government school in the city. A factory worker in Badshahpur, Shashtri decided to make the switch from a private to government school in view of the uncertainty around his financial situation that has persisted ever since the outbreak of Covid-19.

He said that he spoke to the school authorities and others who had children in the school and decided to make the switch after much deliberation. “The school provides good education and the environment is also healthy. Keeping in mind the current circumstances and the financial uncertainty, I decided to take this decision. There is no immediate end to the pandemic in sight and with a diminishing income, it is important to spend resources wisely,” said Rathi.

He said that while online classes were being conducted by his son’s previous school, they were unstructured and children were unable to follow the lessons taking place.

“If children are going to study online and on their own only, then paying such high fees doesn’t make much sense. Schools have been demanding the complete fee and not giving any concessions. We researched about the government schools and decided to give it a try,” said Shashtri.

With incomes drying up and financial distress affecting jobs and businesses all across, many working-class and middle-class families, whose children used to study in low-cost private schools in the neighbourhood, are making the choice of shifting to government schools. Apart from the rising financial constraints, for many parents, the shift is also influenced by the futility of paying high fees for online classes, which they considered as a relatively lesser effective mode of teaching. As per data shared by the Haryana education department, as many as 43,293 private school students have moved to government schools across the state ever since the 2020-21 academic session started on April 1. A total of 2,453 private school students have shifted to government schools in Gurugram alone.

Satish Kumar, a resident of Bhondsi, recently moved his three kids from a private school in Ghamroj to the government senior secondary school in Bhondsi. Kumar, who runs a general store, said that while the private school had been conducting online classes, they were erratic and not up to the mark. Based on feedback from neighbours, whose children had been studying in the government school, he got his children admitted to the new school. “During the pandemic, I saw my children struggling with online classes. There was no schedule or timetable. Teachers shared assignments as per convenience and it was becoming difficult for children to grasp concepts. On the other hand, I saw that those who were going to government schools were learning quite well. I didn’t make sense to pay such high fees during a pandemic ,” said Kumar.

School principals across the district confirmed that they had seen an uptick in the number of students who were migrating from private schools to government schools. Shyam Raghav, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Bhondsi, said that the school had received at least 100 applications from students who were planning to shift from private schools to government schools in the past week.

Asha Miglani, principal of Government Model Sanskriti Senior Secondary School, sector 43, said that 230 students from private schools had taken admission in the school during the pandemic. “Many students from private schools are coming for admission nowadays. While different parents have different motivations, the fact that government schools provide quality education without any cost is an important consideration, based on feedback that we have received,” said Miglani.

Surinder Singh, principal of Government senior secondary school, Darbaripur, said that his school had been contacted by parents of at least 30 children in various grades who were keen on moving from private schools to government ones. “Many children have approached us but their admission is pending since private school are yet to release their documents and certificates that are needed for the formal completion of admission process,” said Singh. He said that the school was expecting enrolments from at least 30-40 students by the end of the month. .

District education officer Indu Boken said that around 2500 students who earlier studied in private schools had taken admission in various government schools across the district until July end.

She said that the effort of government schools towards conducting online classes during the pandemic and the improved performance over the years were among factors that were influencing parents’ decisions.

“The performance of government schools in the state has increased considerably over the years. People are also taking cognizance of the fact that government schools have been conducting classes without a break since the country went into lockdown,” said Boken

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