Updated: September 27, 2021 9:14:31 am
All three municipal corporations have seen an increase in student enrolment this academic year as compared to the last — by over 10,000 students in South MCD, around 40,000 in East and around 20,000 in North.
This, however, may not a reason to cheer as senior civic body officials attributed it to reasons such as ghost students who exist on paper but enroll for perks such as direct benefit transfers; the pandemic forcing private school students to shift to MCD schools due to decreased parental income; and budget private schools remaining shut during Covid as opposed to civic body schools.
There are 568 schools under South MCD, 354 under East and 700 under North.
The East MCD has seen an uptick in enrolment, which has constantly been decreasing over the years — from over 2.33 lakh students in 2012-13 to 1.62 lakh students in 2020-21. In the 2021-2022 academic year, the enrolment has increased to over 2 lakh, as per data given by the EDMC.
North MCD, which had 2.67 lakh students till last year, saw 2.86 lakh students enrolling this year.
The South body had seen a rise last year too. There were 2.34 lakh students in 2019-20, 2.54 lakh in 2020-21, and 2.64 lakh in 2021-2022.
Director of the education department of North MCD Ranjeet Singh said students who were unable to afford private school fees are shifting to MCD schools. “Private ones are charging as usual… while in MCD schools, there is no fee. Besides, students get several benefits. Also, our infrastructure has improved.”
Director Education of South MCD Pradeep Kumar said: “Enrolment has increased but the actual test would be once schools re-open and how many students can be retained.”
A senior South MCD official said students may have enrolled themselves in private as well as MCD schools for DBT perks: “It is easier to bluff when classes are online… and tracking is not possible. Once schools reopen, retention would be a tough task.”
According to Director (education) East R Menka, there are cases where mohalla-level private schools were shut during the lockdown, but corporation schools continued teaching-learning in the form of online classes, giving physical sheets or assignments which could be collected from schools. “Direct benefit transfers for stationery, uniform are also incentives that drew students to our schools,” she said.
In the pre-pandemic period, enrolment constantly decreased due to reasons such as some government schools admitting students from nursery onwards, poor student-teacher ratio at corporation schools affecting quality of education, and private schools admitting students under the Right to Education Act.
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