In an unprecedented move, the State government, in order to ensure that government schools are not shut down despite dismal attendance, has decided to convert more than 1,000 government schools into public libraries.
A senior official from the Directorate of School Education told DT Next on Thursday that in addition, about 700 schools have one teacher each. “Moreover, around 40 schools have less than five students each,” he added.
Stating that the existing students will be shifted to nearby government schools, the official said that teachers will also be transferred to other institutions. The official said the school-turned libraries will have a sufficient number of books for all ages. Pointing out that the books will be procured from the district libraries, the official said that new books will also be purchased from certain publications. “Some small infrastructure modifications including setting up of racks will also be done in the schools to complete their conbversion into a full-fledged library,” he said.
The official said that existing school infrastructure facilities will not be disturbed. “Chairs and benches will be utilised for the readers, the official stated. However, the official said that government is taking enough measures to increase the admissions in the government schools and therefore, once the number of students’ admissions increases by next academic year, the libraries will again start functioning as schools.
“Steps including door-to-door canvass, issuing pamphlets, putting advertisements and seeking the help of parents-teachers association are being taken from this year to increase the student’s admissions in government schools,” the official said. He said according to the plan, the government has set a target of increasing admissions in state-run schools by two lakh during next year. At present there are 37,459 government schools functioning in the State. Of the total, 24,321 are primary schools, 6,966 are middle schools and 6,172 are high and higher secondary schools.