OF THE 201 schools in the city, both private and government, as many as 110 of them are currently functioning without a head master/head teacher, a survey has found. The comprehensive survey, conducted by the Unified District Information System for Education (DISE) of schools in Chandigarh, found that only 90 schools have head teachers.
The survey report for 2015-16, which was recently released by DISE, has also determined if the schools are complying with several indicators of the Right to Education Act. It has found that though all schools in Chandigarh provide basic drinking water to students, kitchens for mid day meals are available in only seven of the schools.
The report has also highlighted that even though all schools have boundary walls, as mandated by the infrastructural requirements under RTE, 14 city schools do not have playgrounds.
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Further, even though the number of schools in Chandigarh have increased to 201 in the 2015-16 academic year, the overall enrollment for primary classes has gone down. As per data for 2015-16, student enrollment for classes I-VIII has reduced to 1,57,921 from 1,60,743 in the last academic year.
There has, however, been an increase in the enrollment for classes IX-XII. For the current academic year, the student enrollment stands at 80,160 against last year’s enrollment of 77,144 students.
The survey has also revealed that the number of repeaters in city schools has increased from 2,443 in 2014-15 to 2,791 in 2015-16. Going by the data, of over 300 students who appeared for the class X exam in 2014-15, only 86 took admission in the next academic session.
A major dropout rate has also been observed for children with special needs. “Of the total 9,309 teachers in the UT, only 870 are trained in teaching children with special needs. More often than not, these students do not get a constructive environment in schools because of social stigma, eventually leading to them dropping out,” said Kanwaljeet Kaur, a teacher at a city government school.
At present, there is only one trainer/coach in UT for helping children with special needs exercise. Pradeep Dogra, the coach appointed for disabled students by the UT education department, said, “Exercise is crucial for children with special needs, and there are a lot of students in the city who are not able to get the right amount of attention due to shortage of teachers and coaches.”
Chandigarh currently has 107 schools that function under the UT education department, seven government aided private schools and 73 private unaided schools. Other than these, there are six schools in the UT function under the Centre and three unrecognised madrasas. As per the DISE report, there are only three unrecognised schools in the city. While 197 schools in the city offer co-education, only one in the city is for boys and three in the city are girls-only schools.
The survey also covered available toilets for boys and girls in the city schools and found that of the total 5,396 toilets, 5,383 toilets are functional. The report however does not highlight the condition of these functional toilets. With poor infrastructure and lack of proper cleaning, toilets at a few government schools located in the periphery of the city are in a dismal state.
Earlier this month, UT Adviser Parimal Rai had issued instructions to city government schools to ensure clean toilets for students.