Experts fear the disintegration of the primary education system

Few takers for the government’s proposal to merge classes 3 to 5 with high schools within a 3 km radius

Few takers for the government’s proposal to merge classes 3 to 5 with high schools within a 3 km radius

Amid serious concerns over the proposed school restructuring program, the Department of School Education has accelerated the process of mapping grades 3-5 from public sector primary schools to high schools within a 3km radius for their merger. .

The government’s assertion that this decision will facilitate the optimal use of infrastructure and human resources for better learning outcomes in children is disputed by some experts from the education sector, teachers’ unions and schools. other stakeholders.

Distance a concern

They argue that increasing the distance from schools to 3 km from home will force many children to drop out of school, especially girls. The different schedules and teaching levels of primary and secondary schools could also cause inconvenience for primary school children, they say.

Instead, the government should consider establishing a primary school in each village panchayat with good infrastructure, including pre-primary education as well as grades 1-5, and with adequate teaching staff, they suggest.

“In the existing system, one or two teachers teach all subjects in grades 3 to 5 in primary schools, which leads to poor learning outcomes. Students need specialist teachers, especially for core subjects such as English, math and science. The merger will facilitate this, resulting in the imparting of quality education,” said Mr. Ramalingam, Co-Director of School Education.

“Also, primary schools don’t have good infrastructure,” he said, addressing
The Hindu .

Vitapu Balasubramanyam, Legislative Council Member for Chittoor, Nellore and Prakasam Teachers Constituency, says the main concern is the division of primary schools into two parts. “No other state in the country does. The National Education Policy-2020 cited by the government does not recommend the disintegration of the primary education system,” he says.

The abolition of classes 3 to 5 will significantly reduce the size of primary schools, which will only remain classes 1 and 2. “They could become non-formal education units in the days to come. We seem to be heading in that direction,” Mr. Balasubramanyam says.

Pointing out that traditionally formal education starts with grade 1, he says, in the new setup it can “really and abruptly” start from grade 3. Also, in the new scheme of things, schools primary include anganwadi centers and classrooms. 1 and 2. While the former come under the Department of Women and Child Welfare, the latter under the Department of Education. “How does it work?” he asks himself.

long term project

Experts also see the move as a long-term plan to reduce the number of teachers. “About 58,000 teachers will be surplus in the future. There are already 24,000 vacancies for teachers,” said an education expert.

Teachers working in municipal schools say the move would reduce the existing 2,115 municipal schools to just 335.

“About 1,675 (80%) municipal schools will be merged, leaving only 335 (20%) schools. The municipal school education system will be nearing its end,” said S. Ramakrishna, State Chairman of the Federation of Municipal Teachers.