As per data from the civic body, 88,170 students enrolled in Corporation schools this year. “The admissions are not yet over. We are expecting to cross 90,000 students this year. Several initiatives, including door-to-door canvassing, helped increase the student strength,” said a Chennai Corporation official. These schools have the infrastructure to admit around 1.10 lakh students. The official added that around 9,000 students shifted from private schools to the ones run by the Corporation this year. “Our teachers are the main reason for the increase in enrolment. They visited more than two lakh houses to identify students who dropped out and those who did not enrol in any school. Such children were given admissions on the spot,” the official said.
Similar trend was witnessed at most of the government schools, which is said to be because of the pandemic lockdown that crippled the finances of many of the households. This is a welcome change for these schools, as the Corporation data show that student strength had been declining since the 2009-10 academic year. That year, Corporation schools had a strength of 1.03 lakh students. But then began the steady decline that brought the numbers down to 83271 in 2014-15. Since then, the numbers went up and down marginally. Finally, a decade later, it had declined to 83,098 students in 2019-20, a fall of nearly one-fifth.
The civic body runs 281 schools, including 32 higher secondary schools. All these schools are located in core city zones – Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Anna Nagar, Kodambakkam, Teynampet and Adyar.
Explaining the projects to improve the schools, the official said that 46 schools in 28 campuses have been selected for various efforts to uplift them.