While the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation School Board might be cheering about decline in dropout rate over the past five years, it seems to have ignored the dip in enrolment resulting in a decline in number of municipal schools run by the corporation in the city.
As per the annual evaluation exercise Gunotsav results, despite a decline in dropout rate from 1.39 per cent in academic session 2011-12 to 1.29 per cent in 2012-13, the school board failed to address decline in enrolment that decreased by nearly 5,000 students in a year resulting in shutting down and merging of six municipal schools, this year in the city.
At present, the total number of schools is 450, against previous year’s 456. This number was 468 in academic year 2011-12. These six schools that have been closed down and even merged were running in Urdu, Hindi, Sindhi and Marathi medium in old city areas including Shahpur, Vadaj, Kubernagar, Bhadra, Dariapur and Raikhad.
Another interesting fact revealed in the Gunotsav results is that the only thing that witnessed an upward graph is rating of schools, which reflects an improvement in grades. Not only the schools increased in number from lower to upper grades but also a couple of these made way into the highest A+ grade, which not a single school had achieved in last three years.
For instance, in 2009-10, not a single school had achieved A or A+ grades. But in the academic session 2012-13, 83 schools have scored A and 3 schools scored A+. However, this factor too did not seem to hold back students to these “improved” schools.
Another fact that came to light is the number of teachers that rose despite decline in students and schools. Despite a decline in 5,000 students and six schools within a year, the number of teachers has risen from 3,696 to 4,001, an extra 305 teachers within a year.
“The reason for shutting down and merging these schools is low enrolment in these schools. Several reasons including infrastructure development like BRTS leading to an obstruction for students to commute to the school have led to a drop in the enrolment. As the number of students went below a minimum stipulated strength, it was feasible to close them down,” said AMC school board chairman Jagdish Bhavsar.
Further, justifying the move, he added, “But we are planning to open some new schools in city areas catering to students from economically weaker