Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, September 13
The Education Department is leaving no stone unturned to prove that the government schools are doing well and being preferred over the private ones. However, the claim of “excellent enrolment” fell flat today when a few primary schools failed to show the student strength they had depicted in the state-level data. Not only this, the school authorities took the exam of the same class in shifts.
At Government Primary Smart School, Haibowal, Mangat I block, while the head teacher was not available, two other teachers said 168 Class IV students were appearing for the exam (12-1 pm) and the attendance was “100 per cent”.
When counted, only around 90 students were present in three classrooms. When asked about the remaining students, head teacher Shivani, telephonically informed, that due to Covid-19, the teachers had taken the exam of many students earlier and they had already left for their homes.
“We have got too many students, all can't be accommodated at one time, so we took the exam in shifts. Secondly, we adjusted the students as per parents’ timings as many are not free to drop and pick their wards," she said. When asked if it was allowed officially, she did not say anything.
Last year, there were 119 students in Class IV. This year, the enrolment has increased to 168.
At Government Primary School, Chander Nagar, of the 55 students, who were to appear for the Class IV exam, around 40 were present. They too were sitting in a congested room. The in charge said the building was small and a few students of lower classes had been shifted to a nearby community hall.
She said as far as the exams of the remaining students were concerned, the OMR sheets would be sent to them.
Barring a few, most students were without masks and no social distancing was maintained.
Government School Teachers' Union Punjab president Surinder Kumar Puari said the enrolment was nothing but a "drama" being enacted by the state government. “Where are the facilities for students? There is no infrastructure, no teachers but the government is pressuring for admission of more students?" he said.
Despite repeated attempts, the DPI (Primary) and Secretary (Education) could not be contacted.
School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, who was accompanying the CM to Hoshiarpur, assured that someone from the department would contact.
Later, Dr Devinder Singh Chhina, Nodal Officer (Media) of the department, called up on the behalf of the Secretary (Education). He said, "Due to the Covid situation, primary students had been given the option of alternative timings because the safety of the students and consent of the parents are the foremost priorities of the department."
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