Less than 30 students in 11K TN govt schools: Data

Less than 30 students in 11K TN govt schools: Data

This includes the 15 lakh new admissions that were registered in the last two years, the period during which countless families were pushed into financial crisis by the pandemic and lockdown.

CHENNAI: Nearly one-third of government and aided schools in Tamil Nadu have less than 30 students each. More than 66 per cent of the schools have only less than 100 students each. And among government schools, there are only six that have more than 1,000 students.

Even as the School Education Department is basking under the achievement of increasing new admissions by a whopping 15 lakh in the last two years, the officials found these numbers while preparing data to provide composite schools grants.

There are 37,387 government and aided schools in Tamil Nadu that have a combined student strength of 52.75 lakh. This includes the 15 lakh new admissions that were registered in the last two years, the period during which countless families were pushed into financial crisis by the pandemic and lockdown.

However, a senior official from the School Education Department said new admissions were high only in the schools in cities and towns; most of the schools that have less student strength are situated in the rural districts in southern parts of the State.

Quoting the latest statistics that were collated to know student strength to calculate composite school grants, the official told DT Next on condition of anonymity that 11,265 schools had only 1-30 students – that is, on an average, the number of students in many classrooms at these schools is in low single-digits. There are even schools that have less than 10 students, the official added.

According to him, 13,594 schools have student strength between 30 to 100. In other words, more than two-thirds of government and aided schools in Tamil Nadu have less than 100 students.

The government had once mulled merging schools that have meagre number of students. Fortunately for students and parents, it was dropped. “It could not be done because the distance between such schools was high, especially in the rural areas. It would affect the students, as they will have to travel long distances,” explained the official.

There are 390 schools that have more than 1,000 students. Of these only six are government schools, rest are aided institutions. Of the total 37,387 government and aided schools in Tamil Nadu, only 3,774 have student strength between 251 and 1,000. “Most of these schools with average and high student strength are situated in the cities,” he added.

Expressing concern with regard to the fewer students strength, State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN) general secretary PB Prince Gajendra Babu said due to poor infrastructure facilities, parents were not willing to send their children to the government schools.

“The State government is spending several hundred crores every year for private schools by encouraging RTE admissions. Instead, the funds should be used to improve the infrastructure of the State-run schools to increase admissions in places that have such low student strength.”

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