Ahmedabad Public School (APS),the first public school in Gujarat by a municipal corporation,opened in the city with a promise of providing English-medium primary education for just Rs 11,which is the one-time registration charge.
The school was announced recently by the Municipal Corporation which had allocated Rs 50 lakh for it in its school board,mainly to contain the drop-out rate and provide quality education to the underprivileged.
It will be the only such public school in the walled city in Shahpur area,which is a minority-dominated neighbourhood.
Registrations for the school opened on March 18 and till Tuesday,the school had received 31 admission forms from areas as far as Mirzapur,Kalupur and Dudheshwar from children with varied economic backgrounds.
We had considered enrolling our daughter in a private school but had to drop the idea after we checked the fee. Then my husband told me about this school which he got to know from a banner put up near his office. Without paying a rupee if we are getting what we would after paying Rs 300 per month added with transportation cost,why should we not go for it? said Rekha Pawar,mother of four-year-old Shanu who had come to register.
Rekha works at a jewellery showroom while her husband works as data entry operator in a private company. Though her elder daughter is studying in a Hindi-medium private school,the couple wanted English-medium education for Shanu.
The school authorities expect the number of registrations to increase after Holi. Keeping in view the inauspicious Hola Ashtak period,we are expecting to receive more registrations in April. So we have opened admissions till April 28, said admission in-charge Bharat Bhavsar.
Another parent,Harish Lakhania from Kalupur,is seeking to admit his three-year-old son Nihal in the school after he learnt about it from other parents in his neighbourhood. Though he lives two kilometres away,Harish is eager to send his only son to an English-medium school.
With a monthly salary of Rs 6,000,I cannot afford to send my son to a private school. We are not educated but we want our children to have the best of education that we can afford, he said.
Santosh Joshi,who runs a garage in one of the slum areas in Shahpur,too wants English-medium education for his five-year-old son Gaurav and APS has come as a boon for him. Today,one has to know English or else he is not considered educated, he said.
The AMC plans to inaugurate the school on Akshay tritya (May 13) and start the formal academic session from June,as it is in a regular school. To begin with,APS will have classes from junior KG to class II and add a class each year. The number of students has been limited to 35 in each class.
The registration fee is Rs 11 and there is no tuition or admission fee. To start with,the school will have four teachers,one for each class.
School board chairperson Jagdish Bhavsar said the curriculum would be designed on the lines of English-medium private schools running in lower and middle income settlements including Shahpur,Girdharnagar and Saraspur,.but with an edge.
The school will run from a double-storeyed 30-room building constructed as a part of earthquake relief project by the Karnataka government in 2001.
At present,Shahpur municipal school number 5,a lower primary school with 700 students,is run in the building in the afternoon while Shahpur municipal school number 6,the upper primary school (Class VI-VIII) with nearly 200-250 students,runs in the morning.
The APS will run on a staggered schedule. The kindergarten will run from 8:30-11 am and Classes I and II from 7:30-11:30 am.