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Classrooms lie vacant as 32 pvt schools in Amreli see no takers
Amreli: In yet another example of the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 32 of the 33 private schools across the district have failed to see any admissions in Class I for the academic year 2021-22, officials say.
MG Prajapati, Amreli’s District Education Officer confirmed that not a single student has taken admission in Class I in 32 of the 33 private schools in the district.
“The normal practice is to admit 40 students per class in Class I, so the primary estimate is that 1,300 seats are vacant this year. Some schools have more than one room for Class I,” he said.
He believes that parents might have preferred government schools, but admits that data from government schools is yet to come in.
“It is a possibility that parents have preferred government schools over private schools this academic year. It could be that infrastructure and the quality of education in the government schools may have improved, since smart classrooms are equipped with the latest facilities under the Gyaan Punj programme,” he said.
However, not everyone is convinced about the “improvement in quality”.
“The fact is, parents are in dire financial straits due to the pandemic and the effects of cyclone Tauktae. People are finding it hard to make ends meet. Government schools are simply cheaper than private schools. There’s no other reason for this,” said Virjibhai Thummar, Congress MLA for Lathi in Amreli district.
Prata Dudhat, Congress MLA from Savarkundla raises a bigger concern. “The issue is not that parents have not put their children in private schools but if they have admitted them to any schools at all. COVID-19 and the cyclone have hit families badly. If these families are pulling older kids out of school and not admitting younger ones, then we’re looking at a much larger crisis--one that the state does not seem willing to consider,” Dudhat said.