Contrary to the claims by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) School Board that low demand was behind shelving plans to open new English medium municipal schools in the academic year 2020-21, its ongoing survey for enrollment in schools has revealed that the longest waiting list is for its English medium schools.
The revelation has led the AMC School Board to rethink its decision with officials stating that they “might have to open a few English medium schools owing to the demand” along with the possibility of adding new sections to the existing ones or running these in two shifts.
The board has also announced the decision to open 100 pre-primary (nursery) section in municipal schools, which otherwise had sessions from Class 1 barring the English medium municipal schools that offer pre-primary classes like Junior KG and Senior KG.
The waiting list of 1,754 is for 97 AMC schools for the 2020-21 academic session. Among top seven AMC-run schools with a waiting list of above 50 includes four English medium schools — Kalupur Public School, Sardar Patel English School, Danilimda Public School and Kankaria-6.
Kalupur Public School has the highest number in waiting list with 130 children (for Class 1), after admission was confirmed to 30. The second highest number of children in the waiting list is again an English medium school — Sardar Patel English Medium School with 92 children waiting for admission.
In Danilimda Public School, the second English medium school opened in 2014 after Shahpur Public School in 2013, there are 68 children waiting to get admission and at Kankaria-6, 65 children are waiting after 30 confirmed admissions.
“We are expecting more demand for English medium schools in the coming weeks. This survey only includes registration for Class 1. After we include children eligible for junior and senior KG, the number for demand may go up manifold. Hence we are rethinking of opening a few new English mediums schools in the upcoming academic session,” said LD Desai, AMC Administrative Officer (AO).
Two Urdu medium schools are among the top seven schools with longest waiting list, along with one Gujarti medium school. Out of total 308 municipal schools, waiting list of 1,754 students in 97 schools has been recorded in addition to the enrollment of 2,910 children out of a registration of 4,664 in these schools.
As per the instructions for the survey issued on January 2, 2020, all school principals have to conduct a door-to-door survey in the vicinity of the school covering all residential areas, including flats, societies, mohalla and lanes, undertaking registration of children of age 5 years and above.
Attributing the long waiting lists to the “hi-tech and smart school effect” after the AMC school board announced 10 high tech schools and 25 smart schools in the budget for the year 2020-21, officials claimed this number could go up as the survey continues till March-end.
“If required, additional classrooms and two shifts will be provided in these schools to accommodate the students in waiting lists. In the past six years, 32,000 children shifted from private to AMC schools. And as the survey and admissions are open till end of March, these numbers are very likely to go up,” Desai added.
The English medium schools, which have been credited for a shift of over 32,000 students from private to municipal schools in the past six years, had no mention in the AMC school board budget for 2020-21.
Over the years, the school board has been seeing major demand for English medium schools from the lower middle and economically weaker sections of the society.
Initiated with one school in 2013, aimed to curtail the declining enrollment, the school board runs 33 English medium schools out of total 387 schools. The numbers rose to 16, 22 and 32 in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Since 2013, 70 new municipal schools were opened by the school board of which English medium schools accounted to half the number.
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