VARANASI: While the admission of targeted 679,140 children in government primary and upper primary schools (under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan) has eluded the basic education department in the district with as many as 1,745 children still out of school, the deteriorating student-teacher ratio and poor infrastructure facilities are also not helping matters and students loathe to come to these schools.
As per recent reports of district education department (till October 2008), there are merely 5,364 primary school teachers for 442,135 students enrolled in 1,022 government primary schools in the district. While simple calculation puts the ratio at one teacher for more than 80 students (almost double of norm under SSA), the situation in upper primary schools is even worse with one teacher for more than 100 students (1,594 teachers for 235,260 students in 349 schools in the district).
Interestingly, while the depleting teacher student ratio has raised concern for quality education in these schools, the poor infrastructure facilities including lack of electricity, boundary walls, toilets, hand pumps and kitchen shades (for mid-day meal scheme) in number of schools are enough to present a disheartening picture.
The report of the education department has indicated that while 979 primary schools (out of 1,022 schools) had not witnessed electrification till October 2008, as many as 329 upper primary schools (out of 349 schools) were yet to witness electrification during that period.
Surprisingly, 374 primary schools and 235 upper primary schools are still without boundaries and as many as 42 primary schools even lack hand pumps for supplying drinking water within the school premises.
According to Pradeep Pandey, Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA), electrification in most schools had started on war footing and the schools in Ambedkar villages would witness electrification by the end of the month.
While reports suggest that lists of as many as 567 primary schools and 229 upper primary schools for electrification has been already submitted to the office of the executive engineer under Electricity Supply Division, Varanasi, most of the schools are yet to see light.
Also, deterioration in academic environment in these schools could be gauged from the facts that during inspection of officials of education department, a number of teachers were found absent from the schools.
According to VS Mishra, district inspector of schools (DIOS), as many as 35 teachers in primary schools and six in upper primary schools were found absent during various inspections that took place between April 1 and October 31 last year. As many as two teachers were suspended and 38 others faced salary deduction in that period, he added.
Status of primary education in government schools in the district:
• Primary schools 1,022
• Upper primary schools 349
• Target of admission of students (under SSA program) 6, 79,140
• Total number of enrolled students 6, 77,395
• Students out of school 1,745
• Total number of teachers:
• Primary schools 5,364, upper primary schools 1,594, Total 6,958
• Schools without boundary walls: Primary 374, upper primary 235
• Schools without electricity: Primary 979, upper primary 329
• Schools without toilets: Primary 5, upper primary 2
• Schools without hand pump: Primary 42, upper primary 0
• Schools without kitchen shades: Primary 81, upper primary 285