With students moving to private schools, Himachal Government educationist alarmed

Shimla: Lowly paid private school teachers are giving the government system a run for its money as more and more parents shun government schools for public school education.

A recent survey showed that even though the state government was spending heavily on education but as many as 32 percent students were admitted in private schools, much to the dismay of government schools.

Alarmed at the figures thrown up by the survey, CL Gupta, chairman, HP education board said, “it is a very serious issue that it is being debated as to why the government schools are losing students to the private sector.”

OP Sharma, director education said, “it was ironic that such a large number of students were estimated to be in private schools even though we provide well qualified staff in government schools.”

Kuldeep Tanwar, who has worked for over two decades towards achieving total literacy says, “most private schools even though they are run like shops where the teacher does not even get a minimum wage, yet better availability of a teacher, basic teaching facilities and emphasis on English language as the teaching medium is attracting more students to these institutions.”

“In many rural government schools, only students of poor families or migrant Nepali labour are enrolled as there is peer pressure among better off villagers to afford public school education. Frequent transfers remains a chronic problem in government institutions,” he added.

At last count there were as many as 15867 government run schools in which over 75,500 teachers were deployed. Of the Rs 13705 budget outlay for 2009-10 as much as Rs 2300 crores is for education.

Speaking about dichotomy of poor wages, better education and better results in private schools, Gupta said, “While granting affiliation to private schools they have to file affidavits of abiding by government salary rules for teachers.”

Lamenting the plight of being a teacher in a private school on a Rs 1500 monthly salary, Sunita Kashyap spoke up, “it’s hard to survive on such a salary which is less than the minimum wages but we have nowhere to go.”

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