BHOPAL: The state government is planning to shut down primary schools that have a student strength of less than 20. A draft is already being prepared in this regard. The pilot project will initially be launched in three districts namely Sehore, Betul and Rajgarh.

There are a large number of schools in the state with miniscule student strength.  School education minister, Deepak Joshi informed Free Press that the government is preparing the draft in which the primary schools with less than 20 children will be closed and students shifted to nearby schools.

Atmosphere of teaching and learning is suffering due to low students’ strength. Even the man power is under-utilised, he said. Under the programme, teachers will be shifted to schools facing staff shortage.

In a bid to control drop-out rate, students will be provided free-of-cost transportation. The project will be implemented in the entire state if the pilot project is deemed successful in the above-mentioned three districts.

Crisis of teachers in rural areas

Interestingly, the school situated near city areas and in posh areas have higher number of teachers, while schools in villages and in distant areas are devoid of teaching staff. No recruitment drive has been undertaken by the state government in the last few years. Besides, other administrative posts too are lying vacant. A few of them have been filled through deputation. Out of around 9000 posts, around 3000 posts are filled or vacant.

Girls outnumber boys in enrollment

The state has 83,962 primary and 30,341 middle schools. The strength of students enrolled in these schools is around 78 lakh. Around 2,91,00 teachers are deployed in these schools.  Interestingly, the number of girls in schools is higher than the boys. The difference is between 1 lakh and 50,000.

The number of male teachers stands at 2,01,500. Women teachers’ strength is 90,000.  As per department’s guidelines, it is mandatory to have two teachers in every primary and three in middle schools.  The teachers’ strength in primary schools is adequate.

In the primary school the teachers are almost sufficient. Even Jan Shiksha Kendras are being operated on deputation basis. In the state, 5,320 Jan Shiksha Kendra are operational and 4,406 teachers are working on deputation basis. There are no teachers in 914 kendras.

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