Punjab government schools record 11% rise in admissions in current session

Some schools have seen even 100 per cent increase in student strength this year as compared to the past couple of years.

Despite the ongoing second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, government schools in Punjab have seen admissions for the current session improve significantly.

According to the Punjab Education department, during the last academic session, Punjab was the only state in the country where about 15 per cent increase in admissions in government schools was witnessed despite the pandemic. This year so far, more than 11 per cent increase has been recorded in admissions.

Some schools have seen even 100 per cent increase in student strength this year as compared to the past couple of years.

Across the state currently, there are 180 high, senior secondary schools (SSS) and even primary schools that have more than 1,000 students.

Out of these 180 high-strength schools, more than three dozen schools have a strength between 2,001 to over 5,000; three dozen have between 1,501 to over 2,000, while remaining over 100 schools have over 1,000 to 1,500 strength.

Among these schools, 147 are in urban areas and 33 in rural areas. Ludhiana district topped the chart with 40 such schools which have seen a total strength from over 1,000 to around 5,000 students.

Patiala and Amritsar district have 22 and 16 government schools, respectively, which have a current strength ranging between 1,000 to 5,000 students.

Apart from this, Fazilaka and Gurdaspur districts have seen nine each such schools, Jalandhar, Sangrur have identified 8 such schools each. Ferozepur, Mohali and Bathinda have seven such high-strength schools each, Mukatsar, Hoshiarpur, Faridkot districts have six each and Tarn Taran, Barnala both have five each.

Fathegarh Sahib, Mansa and Moga districts all have four each, while Kaparthala has three, Pathankot has two, Ropar and Nawanshahr have one each.

“In 2018, government senior secondary school Randhwa Masanda had 633 students and currently, the enrolment is 1,115,” said Principal Dilbir Kuar, adding that “we have great infrastructure with new building of the school, seven smart classrooms with projectors and our teachers are taking zoom classes”.

She said: “We got 150 students from private schools this year.”

Arvinder Kaur, Principal, government senior secondary school, Maqsudan in Jalandhar, said that the strength of their school is now 1,069. Similarly in Phillaur, girls and boys government schools have the strength 1,518 and 1,462, respectively.

The maximum strength of a government school in the state is 5,236 (Senior Secondary School, PAU, Ludhiana) followed by 5,146 (SSC Civil Lines, Patiala) and 4,754 (SSC, Bathinda).

According to the Punjab Education Department, the total students in government schools from LKG to Class 12 during the previous session was 26,72,607 and now as many as 29,69,182 students have been enrolled in government schools, which is 2,96,575 more than the previous year.

The significant feature of the enrollment drive is that during the current academic session as many as 1,88,942 students from private schools opted to get themselves enrolled in government schools. While during the previous session as many as 1,60,372 students from private schools had preferred to shift government schools to avail the benefits of better infrastructure as well as quality education facilities available in the government schools.

“A positive change in the public perception about the government schools is abundantly visible as the parents including from elite sections of the society MLA, former MLA, Sarpanches, panches, Doctors, Bank Managers have started reposing faith in government schools”, said Education Secretary Krishan Kumar. He said that admissions are still going on and the current figure could go higher still.

The officials, school heads, teachers and non teaching employees are increasing admissions by using all public/social media means by visiting door to door visit, distributing pamphlets, affixing flex hoardings, plying rickshaws / vans playing promotional songs , staging street plays at public places and setting up canopies at mela sites etc.

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