With an uptick in admissions during the pandemic year, Government High School, Borawal in Mansa district is now looking to match private schools in facilities to retain students who have shifted. The first step in the direction has been raising funds to turn ‘fully air-conditioned’.
Headmaster Harjinder Singh said: ”Around Rs 3 lakh was raised in June and we started work of installation of solar panels on the rooftop of our school building. A 6 kw solar system has been installed and another 10 kw solar system will be installed in the coming months. Our idea is to make our school self-sufficient in power as we are making the school fully air-conditioned. We have a plan to install 20 kw solar systems to manage the power bill of the entire school (primary as well as high school). All our classrooms are smart classrooms and we have English as well as Punjabi medium option.”
Explaining his reasons for the spend on infrastructure, the headmaster says that he wants those who have switched to the government school from private institutions should not go back.
He added: “Our admissions increased from 230 to 257 for Classes 6-10 in this session compared to previous financial year and all the new admissions are from private schools. Students studying in private schools affiliated to CBSE, ICSE and even PSEB have taken admission in our school. We have to retain all these students till they complete high school and even more admissions are being added.”
So while everyone was busy fighting the pandemic, Harjinder started raising funds from within the school and even from NRIs from the villages settled in Australia.
According to Harjinder: “Parents get their children admitted to private schools because of better infrastructure, otherwise PSEB too follows NCERT curriculum. Already, we are making our schools as ‘smart schools’, but I thought of adding ACs and solar systems too to compete with the private set up. So the students who are coming from private schools will stay here and more will come in the coming year. Moreover our class strength in each section is 25 which is much less than what it is in most private schools.”
The school which was converted into a high school in 1997, plans to cover Classes 6-10 under the air conditioning plan by the end of this year. The headmaster added that false ceilings are being made in all rooms so that ACs consume minimum energy. “It is not only to attract students from private schools, but also to provide a conducive environment to our own students and also to make government schools a place for one and all…An educational park is also being created within the school campus. Primary school has 205 students and we have plans to make those classes air conditioned too. Our donors are from Australia and even villagers have told us that till the time the solar system does not start reimbursing the full power bill, they will contribute the power bill. We will not demand anything from the government,” he added.
A villager, Gurmail Singh, said that the school has produced many bright students including nearly 30 teachers serving in government schools, NRIs who are in Australia or Canada, many boys joined the Army.