Primary classes' merger into high schools triggers new problems

Students studying under the tree shade in a high school in Puttaparthi mandal
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Students studying under the tree shade in a high school in Puttaparthi mandal

Highlights

About 280 schools of 350 merged schools in tune with the government's latest notification are facing teachers’ scarcity and building accommodation issues and the DEO concerned is grappling with finding a solution to the new problems and pacifying the stakeholders, who are facing new challenges.

Anantapur: About 280 schools of 350 merged schools in tune with the government's latest notification are facing teachers' scarcity and building accommodation issues and the DEO concerned is grappling with finding a solution to the new problems and pacifying the stakeholders, who are facing new challenges. More than 50 per cent of government schools in the district have not been covered so far under 'Nadu-Nedu' school buildings renovation programme. At least 500 of the school buildings spread over most of the mandals in the district are in a dilapidated state. Classes are conducted in buildings that are in a precarious state.

While this is the state of affairs in existing school buildings, the problem is all the more aggravated with the government's latest decision to merge 3,4,5 primary school classes with high schools that are located 250 metres away from the primary school in any village. But the decision of the government has cropped up new accommodation problems and the thoughtless actions of the government without taking into consideration the building space availability has landed school administrators in a soup thus forcing head masters to conduct classes in many cases under the shade of trees or in the corridors of school buildings. This also aggravated the already teachers' scarcity problem adding more problems to the existing ones.

About 351 government primary schools in the district have been merged with 351 high schools in tune with the government norms. Of the 351 high schools, 283 high schools are facing accommodation problems in view of the merger of classes 3,4 and 5 with the high schools. School assistants are supposed to teach 24 to 32 periods of classes per week but with the merger of primary classes into the high schools, the teachers are over-burdened with additional teaching classes. As per education norms the student-teacher ratio should be 20:1 Class teachers of 3,4,5, also should be merged into the high schools but if the new notification is to be adhered to, the primary schools would face teachers shortage and the student-teacher ratio cannot be implemented. So, this new exercise no matter what its advantages are cropping up new problems of buildings accommodation and teachers' shortage. Even primary schools that are located 850 metres away are also merged with high schools thus inconveniencing even students who are facing walking and transportation problems.

Because of the schools' merger even the mid-day meal program stands dislocated and the scheme contractors are having a hard time dealing with the chaos associated with the merger.

Meanwhile District Education Officer Samuel told The Hans India that the teething problems associated with the schools' merger are being assessed and taken into consideration for tackling buildings and accommodation scarcity problems as well as the inadequacy of teaching faculty. These things will be taken to the government attention and the problems will be redressed at the earliest, he assured. Under the 'Nadu-Nedu' programme additional classrooms building will be taken up even as many buildings' renovation are being taken up under phase-2 of the Nadu-Nedu scheme.

In Puttaparthi and in Raptadu, headmasters are complaining of accommodation and teachers' scarcity problem post-merger.

As on today, 1,200 schools have been renovated and given a corporate facelift while 1,500 school buildings will be covered under the second phase. However, 500 of 1,500 school buildings needed urgent attention.

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