There is a rather strong reason why teachers of Panchayat Union primary schools who usually go on enrolment drive in a few km radius for continuous days or even weeks at this time of the year are not unduly perturbed.
The pandemic, they say, could well turn out to be a blessing in disguise for them as the situation of joblessness caused by the lockdown is bound to reflect in higher admission in panchayat union schools.
The government has prevented private schools from collecting fees from students. A section of parents, who despite their poverty had chosen to admit their wards in private English-medium schools will, in all probability, knock at the doors of the panchayat union schools, a senior teacher in Tiruverumbur Union said.
Though Tamil Nadu has been one of the few Indian States to achieve almost 100% Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) in primary education in recent years, there used to be a steady decline in enrolment of students in panchayat union schools.
‘The prospects for increasing the student numbers looks good. Leveraging of student strength will also help panchayat union schools in getting more number of sanctioned teaching posts,’ a headmaster said.
With smart class rooms being established in primary and middle schools, teachers devise creative ways of using ICT solutions to teach their students effectively.
The students benefit substantially from welfare schemes such as free supply of nutritious noon meal, textbooks, notebooks, laptop, uniform, footwear, school bag, crayons, colour pencils, geometry box, atlas, woollen sweaters, rain coats, boots, socks, bus pass and bicycles, a senior official said.
According to official data, the government has opened 248 new primary schools and upgraded 117 primary schools to middle schools from the year 2011-12 to 2018-19, as per the provisions in the Tamil Nadu Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011 (RTE Rules, 2011).
Parents who choose government schools for their wards are bound to realise the effectiveness of Simplified Activity Based Learning (SABL) for standards 1 to 3; Simplified Active Learning Methodology (SALM) for standards 4 and 5; and Active Learning Methodology (ALM) for standards 6 to 8, the official said.