Kolkata: State Education minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday said his department is planning for amalgamation and at the same time developing infrastructure at the primary schools to have a proper balance of teachers and students. There are schools in which students are less in comparison to the teachers and vice versa.
“The total number of primary schools in the state is 50,108 presently out of which 2,048 schools have students where the number is less than 20. We are trying for infrastructural development so that the enrollment goes up and at the same time introducing English-medium schools in the state. We have already identified 100 schools for English-medium among which 65 schools have already been upgraded. We have set a target of having 1,000 English-medium schools,” Chatterjee said in response to a query from TMC MLA Bankim Hazra at the state Assembly on Monday.
Chatterjee, during the course of supplementary questions, provided data before the House of the number of schools where students’ strength is less than 20. The number of upper primary schools in this regard is 554, secondary schools are 76 and higher secondary schools are 14. “We have not closed down any of these schools and are trying all means to attract students. The department is providing laptops with projectors in a number of schools to make the learning experience interesting. Providing mid-day meals should not be the only means to attract students and there should be something for the students which involve some sort of brain work on their part,” he added.
Chatterjee further pointed out that the Left Front government’s decision in 1982 to do away with English in the primary level had resulted in a sharp decline of students in government schools as they have opted for private English-medium schools which teach the subject right from the pre-primary level.
The minister also expressed his concern over the mushrooming of CBSE and ICSE and Montessori schools over which the state primary Board has no control.
“The permission to set up these schools are given by the Central government and we only provide the No Objection Certificate (NOC). We have already spoken to the Centre and highlighted the problem. Until we are empowered by the Centre to have our say in granting permission about setting up the schools, we are helpless,” he claimed.