A Tribune Special
Chandigarh, March 30
The number of dropouts and new admissions to each school will be recorded in the annual confidential reports (ACRs) of the teachers, principals and DEOs concerned. The order, issued recently, has been circulated among the entire teaching community of the state and comes into effect from April 1. This is the first step by the state government to put the education system back on the rails.
With government schools facing tough competition from private schools in semi-urban areas and also a high dropout rate, the state now wants teachers to go to the homes of people and woo them to admit their children to government schools. The latest report available with the government says more than 5 lakh children had dropped out from government schools in the state. The dropout rate was high due to the lack of interest or poor attendance of teachers.
Senior functionaries in the government say the new step is aimed at increasing accountability in the education system. The teaching community fears that promotions could be hampered by the step.
The government has fixed a target of increasing the number of students in government schools by 10 per cent of the existing strength.
Under the latest move teachers have been asked to go from door to door and explain various schemes, benefits, scholarships and welfare options available in government schools. There are various scholarships for girl students and those belonging to the Scheduled Castes. Parents will be told how teachers in government schools are better qualified than their counterparts in private schools run in small towns. The fact that government schools do not charge any building fund will also be highlighted.
Those students who have just taken the board examinations have been allowed provisional admission to the next class. The principals have been told to have parent-teacher associations in their schools and hold meetings on a monthly basis. Also, the order says that no student should be denied admission. Students of Classes VI to X, who are studying in private schools but want to join government schools, should not be asked to bring a school-leaving certificate from the private schools. The principal concerned has been empowered to admit such students.
The Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), in his address to the Punjab Assembly on February 20, had expressed concern over the high dropout rate in schools of the state. The Economic Survey for 2005-06 said that the dropout rate as on March 31, 2003, stood at 25.29 per cent, 32.75 per cent and 48.10 per cent in the case of the primary, middle and high school levels, respectively.