Children in overcrowded classrooms in Delhi government schools can expect better conditions soon with the education department working on a proposal to redistribute students so that no school is overburdened.
Some government schools are so overcrowded that each classroom has over 100 students, which makes a task as simple as marking attendance challenging for teachers. In most government schools, there are 45 to 60 students in one class.
Director of education Saumya Gupta said, “We are mapping schools for redistribution but a major overhaul cannot be done mid-session. Usually, if a school in an area is burdened, the ones near it will also be burdened. If we shift students to schools that are farther away, they will have to be transported. This cost will borne by the government, not children’s families. When all the under-construction classrooms are completed, and work is progressing at a good pace, a major part of the overcrowding problem will be addressed. This is a particularly tough year because large scale construction is underway. It will be better in future.”
The plan comes on the heels of a Delhi High Court judgment passed earlier this month, which ordered the government to work out a plan to move children from the overcrowded government girls and boys senior secondary schools in Sonia Vihar. The education secretary and her team met last week to finalise a plan for schools that face a similar predicament.
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According to an affidavit submitted by the government in the court, both schools are run from the same premises but in separate shifts. While the girls’ shift has 4,529 students, the boys’ shift has 3,190 students. There are only 41 classrooms in the school, some of which are used for administrative purposes.
A section of the school is still under construction to build more rooms but this will take at least eight more months, the government told the court.
According to the Right to Education Act, schools have to be within “walking distance” (between 1 km and 3 km) from a child’s house. It also mandates that there should be one teacher for every 30 students in a class.