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Chandigarh: Students of private schools shift to govt schools amid pandemic

According to the data by the education department, of the total 9,233 students who took admissions in the last two months, as many as 4,985 are students who have shifted from private schools of the city.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | October 7, 2020 10:39:52 am
Schools reopen in Chandigarh amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

About 54 per cent of students who sought admissions in Chandigarh government schools are those who have shifted from private schools to the government schools. The UT education department said that this was due to the financial crunch faced by the parents of students attending private schools.

These students who have shifted here have sought admissions in classes 1 to 8 in government schools. The admissions took place in August and September this year through online mode, officials said.

According to the data by the education department, of the total 9,233 students who took admissions in the last two months, as many as 4,985 are students who have shifted from private schools of the city.

A statement issued by the department said, “In the ongoing scenario owing to COVID pandemic, there have been numerous changes in all the systems, including education. As regards the students seeking admission to classes 1 to 8 in government schools of UT Chandigarh, a mention has to be made of the students who were earlier enrolled in private schools. Out of 9,233 students who took admission, the number of students who have shifted from private schools to govt schools stands at 4,985.”

Chandigarh District Education Officer Ravinder Kaur said that they were amazed to see so many new admissions. “I feel the shift from private chools is due to the financial situation of parents that was affected due to the pandemic. Here in government schools, from classes 1 to 8, it is completely free. Even the books are free of cost and for uniform also, we credit the amount. And studies are going on online in any case and at least child’s year is not spoilt. So that way, it is big relief for parents,” she said.

She added, “Moreover, this year admissions have been 40 to 50 per cent more than the usual admissions that we see.”

President of Chandigarh Parents Association Nitin Goyal said that the shift is entirely because of the financial pressure the private schools were putting on these parents in the time of pandemic, following which they were left with no other option but to shift the kids.

“If education department feels it is an achievement for them that students from private schools are shifting then they are mistaken because it is a failure on their part. The administration has not been able to check malpractices of the private schools that didn’t listen to them and kept on demanding hiked fee from parents. No one understood the financial condition of parents what all they had to go through,” he said.

He specified that over 200 complaints of parents were pending in the Fee Regulatory Commission.

“It is so embarrassing for the kid when the school authorities constantly harass him that his name will be struck off online class if he doesn’t pay the fee,” he added.

A principal of a government school in UT said that a parent of a private school student that took admission in her school told the teacher that their child’s studies were getting affected.

“They said that in any case the studies will be taking place online at least for this year till the time vaccine comes. The private school was putting a lot of pressure to deposit the fee. So to make sure the kid’s year doesn’t get spoilt, it was wise to get the kid admitted to government school,” the principal said.

Parents of students in private schools had protested a number of times stating that the private schools were putting a financial burden on them.

Schools told to seek parents’ feedback

The UT education department has told the private schools and government schools to ask the parents if they were willing to send their kids to school.

The Central government has left it to the states and UTs to see if they wish to open the schools in their jurisdiction after October 15.

Director Education Rubinderjit Singh Brar said that the private schools have also been asked to seek response from the parents if they were interested in sending their children to schools.

For sending students, it is pertinent to get parents’ consent as per the government orders. The UT Cadre Educational Employees’ Union has already requested that students may not be called to the schools as COVID is spreading.

The Central government in its orders had also said that in schools which are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. Also, students may attend schools/ institutions only with the written consent of parents and attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent.

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