After over 25,000 students of private and government-run schools switched to Greater Chennai Corporation-run schools, the civic body now has a strength of over 1.03 lakh students in all 281 schools across the city. With this, the corporation now has over 1 lakh total admissions, after a span of 10 years. As admissions are expected to continue till end of September, the Corporationâ€™s Education Department aims to enroll a total of at least 1.15 lakh students by then in the primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools run by them.
On the achievement of gaining over 1 lakh admissions, a corporation official said, â€śIn the past, the corporation schools had a strength of 1,00,300 students in 2011 and after that, we are touching the same one lakh mark in 2021. Many students who were unable to bear the fees set by other institutions (including private and government) have joined corporation schools.â€ť
â€śHere, everything is offered for free so we expect more students to enroll in the coming days,â€ť he said, adding, â€śHowever, many parents are unaware about the benefits we are offering, so it becomes a setback for us.â€ť
Initiatives to increase enrollment
The corporation official said that they are providing infrastructure, financial assistance and are running door-to-door campaigns to increase student enrollment. The corporation pointed out that the enrollment increased due to the factors including presence of qualified teachers, good infrastructure, sanitation, toilet facilities, drinking water facilities and labs. The corporation has also entrusted teachers to carry out door-to-door canvassing to encourage more students to enroll in the schools.
The official said, â€śCorporation teachers are sent in batches to nearby areas to encourage door-to-door visits to convince parents to send their wards to corporation schools. The teachers will make a list of students who do not go to schools and they will constantly urge their parents to join them at corporation schools. We also explain the benefits of letting their children join corporation schools.â€ť
The corporation is also providing financial assistance to Class 12 students who scored high marks in board exams and wish to pursue higher education. The corporation provides a financial assistance of Rs 45,000 per year for students pursuing MBBS or BE. For arts students, the civic body provides Rs 7,000 as assistance till they finish college. The corporation has also picked students excelling in their board exams for national and international tours, free of cost.
When asked about the lower strength over the last few years, the corporation official said, â€śWe found out that the enrollment lowered because of two reasons â€” the eviction drive across Cooum and the migration of families. As part of the eviction drive, many students were moved to Kannagi Nagar and Perumbakkam of Chengalpattu district. But we believe that the enrollment will increase in the coming days as we continue our initiatives.â€ť
The Corporation has also joined hands with the Union government for the Smart City project to improve the infrastructure of the schools at a cost of Rs 95 crore. Till now, the infrastructure of 281 schools permits the corporation only to enroll 1.25 lakh students but the infrastructure revamp will help enroll more students, the official added.