At present, there are about 8,400 government and government-aided middle schools functioning across the State, catering education to a little over 11 lakh children. Similarly, about 3,700 State-run high schools and about 4,000 higher secondary schools provide education to more than 38 lakh students.
A senior official from the School Education Department told DT Next that this year authorities will use the GIS-based school mapping exercises to identify the unserved habitations to upgrade middle schools to high schools and high schools to higher secondary schools to improve access.
“All the district education officers have been entrusted to send the list of the schools and other details in their respective areas,” he added.
Stating that priority will be given to the schools located in hill areas, he said “importance will also be given to the schools located in those areas where Adi Dravida population is high”.
“The proposals for upgradation of girls schools would be given due consideration,” he said adding “accordingly, the middle school dropouts will be drastically reduced among girl students”.
The official also pointed out that the upgradation of girls schools (middle and high) will be considered only by improving existing girls schools and not by separation from existing coeducation institutions.
Pointing out that manual identification for the upgradation of schools will consume more time, the official said through GPS-based system mapping will be very precise to take five km minimum distance between one school and another high school, which was an upgradation rule.
Claiming that in the last few years about 1,000 middle schools have been upgraded to high schools and a little over 600 high schools have been improved to higher secondary schools, he said this year the upgradation is likely to be doubled.
“The upgradation of schools will be on par with private institutions,” he said adding “improvement works include installing smart boards, improvisation of science labs and introduction of more sports activities.”