Over 300 students of the Akhbarnagar government school study on a huge LED screen placed in their classroom where a Mathematics teacher is explaining geometry with the help of graphics and animations under the ‘smart learning project’, telecast through Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG).
Less than a kilometre away, a similar number of students in a government school in Ranip are struggling to make out what is being taught on the faded, patchy blackboard with the teacher’s writing hardly visible.
Neither the students nor the school authorities are at fault for deserving this disparity in the learning environment.
These two schools from Ahmedabad city manifest the apathetic attitude of the authorities when it comes to education in government school.
Seven years after the extension of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation limits, as many as 113 primary schools that were running under district panchayat education committee came under the jurisdiction of Ahmedabad Municipal School Board. After the delimitation in 2015 where 64 AMC wards were reduced 48, the municipal school board has schools from only 40 wards.
Despite repeated orders, more than 1,200 teachers and 40,000 students from these 113 schools are still deprived of all the facilities that they are entitled to and their counterparts in other schools get. The schools continue to be run under the district panchayat, creating confusion and adding to administrative issues.
With the state government and AMC school board unable to resolve the issue of grant for the salary of these 1,200 teachers, the schools are awaiting transfer under Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation School Board. The authorities have been dragging their feet in the implementation of their own orders.
“The issue is pending only due to teachers’ salary component and other grants. The school board cannot take over these schools till this issue is resolved,” says AMC school board Administrative Officer L D Desai. With the expansion of city limits, some of these schools are in areas that are now considered to be integral and some of the most developed parts of the city. Some of these areas are Memnagar, Vastrapur, Vejalpur, Thaltej, Ghatlodiya, Sola, Ranip and others.
The AMC school board has demanded continuation of the existing 100 per cent grant by the state government for running these schools under the district panchayat instead of the 80:20 ratio under municipal corporation schools.
Due to the seven year delay in the transfers despite repeated announcements in the AMC school board’s budget, the schools have not been able to avail funds from the corporator’s budget for the development and repair of school infrastructure. Additionally, the students have not received school uniforms, school bags, water bottles and other articles that are distributed among students of municipal schools.
The principal of one of these schools revealed, “Among all other facilities, a safai kamdar and a watchman are the basic facilities that these school have not been provided. Many a times, we are forced to ask students to keep a watch at the school gate.”
Out of these 113 primary schools 52, with nearly 18,000 students enrolled and 550 teachers, are at present under Daskroi taluka while over 20,000 students and 650 teachers of 51 schools are under Ahmedabad city taluka. These include co-education schools, a majority of them running in Gujarati with hardly a few Urdu and Hindi medium government schools. Remaining nine schools are still under Gandhinagar district. These are from Chandkheda, Visat, Baglawadi, Motera, Pasharvanath Nagar and Laxminagar areas with nearly 1,500 students and over 50 teachers.