11.3 lakh Gujarat students moved from private to govt schools in 4 years! | Ahmedabad News


AHMEDABAD: Sanjay and Ankita Prajapati, a young couple working in private companies in Maninagar, recently got admission of their two sons cancelled from Pooja Vidyalaya, a private school in New Maninagar, and enrolled them in Indrapuri Government Primary School.
“Our son Prince studies in class 6 while Jasmin is in class 4. Despite us paying good fees, the quality of education in private school was not satisfactory. Dejected, we enrolled them in a government school where teaching is surprisingly good. Performance of both sons has improved as they are administered weekly tests. In fact, both sit to study at home regularly,” said Sanjay Prajapati, who earns Rs 15,000 monthly along with his wife. He says that the free education has helped him save money for the family’s other expenses.
Gujarat is witnessing a trend of reverse migration of students from private to government schools. In past four years alone, a good 11.3 lakh primary students studying in class 1-8 have left private schools and taken admission in state-run schools, according to data maintained by the state education department.
While pandemic years of 2020-21 and 2021-22 saw highest ever migration of 2.85 lakh and 3.49 lakh students respectively from private to government schools in Gujarat, a trend which was then attributed to loss of income of families due to lockdowns, the phenomenon has continued in 2022 too as 2.24 lakh students have reportedly shifted from private to government-run schools this academic year.
While there is no clear factor explaining the unprecedented movement, different stakeholders cite varying reasons. Principal education secretary Vinod Rao said that the trend of reverse migration to state government schools began some five years back. “Earlier, government schools would lose students regularly to private schools which has reversed now. Parents admitting their children in government schools from private set ups is a heartening sign of improved quality of education in government schools,” said Rao.
Principal education secretary Vinod Rao credited changes brought into education system namely online attendance of both students and teachers, 60,000 smart classes, centralized assessment of students on weekly basis and student-wise, subject-wise report cards of each ward using the Vidya Samiksha Kendra Education Command and Control Centre which helps system identify gaps in learning and resultant interventions behind improved quality which is attracting students into government schools.
Shahnaz Ansari, a single mother in Bombay Hotel in Narol, got her son Sahil‘s admission changed from a private school in Isanpur to an AMC-run Isanpur Sarkari Prathmik Shah. “My son passed class 3 but could not read and write even Gujarati in the private school where I paid Rs 500 monthly fee. Fed up, I got his LC and enrolled him in municipal school where he is showing good improvement. He has begun to read and write. His interest level in studies has also gone up,” says Shahnaz who takes up stitching job work to run her household.
Bharat Gajipara, president of the Self-finance School Management Association (SSMA), said that the Covid pandemic adversely impacted small schools which had limited classrooms. “With dwindling number of students, such schools found it tough to sustain and could not even carry out online classes due to lack of infrastructure. Students of such schools had no other option but to go for other schools including government-run schools,” he said, adding that some 400-odd such private schools may have shut during the pandemic.
“The pandemic period caused many families to redraw financial planning, and they sent the kids to government schools. Quality of teachers was another aspect – many private schools still lack qualified teachers with B.Ed or PTC degrees. That’s another reason,” said Digvijaysinh Jadeja, president of the Gujarat State Primary Teachers’ Association. “The number of kids who went to government schools from private schools could be around 1 lakh.”
Bhaskar Patel, president of the Gujarat State School Management Association, agreed that while fee is a major factor for the shift, quality of education could be another.
The educationists are a bit sceptical about the number. “There’s no doubt that several of the students got shifted to government schools from private ones for factors such as money and distance. Even as we have not witnessed such a large volume of shift, it is more likely an urban phenomenon as there is not much choice in rural areas, ” said Parul Sheth, director of Shaishav. “Need of the hour – for both government and private schools – is to improve the quality of education and accessibility.”





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