With an increased influx of students, over 25,000 students have got admission in government schools in Kerala since the admission process started three days ago for the academic year 2019-20.
Last year, for the first time in 25 years, the government schools in the state saw a year-on-year increase in the number of students enrolled, with the number reaching up to 1.8 lakh. Compared to the enrolment in 2017-18, 40,000 more students came to public schools last year.
Till 2016, as many as 5,715 schools were functioning without sufficient number of students.
Considering the initial trend this year, the Education Department expects that the enrolment of the students in first standard would be higher than last year – by about 30,000. The academic year starts in June in Kerala, and ends in March.
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Government schools in Kerala come either directly under the state Education Department or under various managements with the support of the government. However, the government-recognised self-financing schools don’t fall under this category.
According to government data, there are over 12,644 schools in the state, out of which 4,504 are government schools, 7,277 aided schools and 863 unaided schools. Out of the total number of schools, 6,817 are lower primary (LP) schools, 3,037 upper primary (UP) and 2,790 high schools. Besides, there were 587 CBSE schools, 797 ICSE schools, 27 Kendriya Vidyalayas and 14 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.
The school enrolment in the state stood at 42.35 lakhs in 2011. With a teacher strength of 1,68,062, the teacher-pupil ratio was 1:27.
At the higher secondary level, at present, there are 1,907 higher secondary schools, of which, 760 are government schools, 686 private aided schools, and 461 unaided schools.
Students who wish to switch to public schools from unaided schools – which don’t have government’s recognition – can take admission without a transfer certificate, said a circular by the state Education Department. Students who wish to be enrolled between second and eighth standards, should be admitted as per the Right to Education Act, the circular added.
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On January 27, 2017, the state Education Department had launched an education protection campaign, aiming at the revival of the government schools in the state. Apart from this, the government selected one school in each Assembly constituency to be upgraded as a ‘centre of excellence’. Rs 5 crore had been sanctioned to each school, while the school’s development committee had to arrange for an additional amount of Rs 5 crore from the development funds of local MPs and MLAs. One hundred and forty-nine schools were selected to be elevated to centres of excellence.
In addition, the Education Department has set up 45,000 hi-tech classrooms in public schools. “Each classroom has a digital projector, screen, laptop and internet connectivity,” said KV Mohan Kumar, Director of Public Instruction. “It helps teachers provide information from other sources,” he added. “These initiatives have drawn many students to public schools.”
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