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Teachers of PU elementary schools with poor strength fear closure
The State government seeking block-wise details of Panchayat union elementary schools with a student strength less than 20 has created fear among teachers that such schools might be closed, resulting in them being transferred
The issue has come to the forefront following complaints about a school at VGR Nagar in Katpadi block functioning with only 18 students and 2 staff, including the headmistress.
Sources said the lone teacher did not report for work for several days together and had instead allegedly asked another person to teach on his behalf. Similarly, a school at Ullipudur in the same block has 10 students and two teachers, including the HM.
Sources in the Panchayat Union Elementary Schools Association told DT Next that nearly 3,000 schools in the State have poor strength.
Fearing closure or clubbing of such schools leading to their being shifted, efforts are underway to enrol more students.
There is another incentive as a minimum strength of 15 students makes a school eligible to receive the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) grant.
When this reporter visited the VGR Nagar school, the entrance gate was found locked from inside. The school compound was filled with overgrown weeds.
Teachers’ association sources revealed that PU elementary schools in urban areas fail to attract students due to the availability of better equipped private schools.
When contacted, Block Education Officer K M Mohan Reddy said, “We have provided the student strength details as sought by the government. We were not given any reasons for it.” Asked about the teacher who avoided duty, Reddy said, “I have not received any complaints about him after I took charge two months ago. Recently, he went abroad after availing permission from the government.”