Gujarat: As schools resume for grades 1-9, the response has been lukewarm
In almost 32,000 government primary schools across the state, the average attendance is nearly 30%
According to attendance records collected by the education department, government school pupils had a lukewarm response on the first day of school when classes resumed for classes 1-9, compared to private school students.
After being closed for a month due to the Covid surge, schools for grades 1 through 9 resumed after one month.
In almost 32,000 government primary schools across the state, the average attendance is nearly 30%, compared to an average of 85 percent for teachers. The overall attendance rate in private schools was slightly higher, at 55%.
"This is a good attendance when we compare the 50 percent attendance permissible capacity allowed in. So when converted, this comes out to be 60 percent. On usual days, too, average attendance of 75-80 percent is reported," According to Secretary of Education Vinod Rao, this would pick up in the following days. He added that data entry could be a problem because some schools have yet to enter attendance data.
Surprisingly, tribal districts had a greater rate of attendance in government primary schools than cities. Dang had the highest attendance rate of approximately 49%, followed by Narmada (48%), Navsari (47%), and Tapi (46%).
The remaining districts and municipal corporations had an attendance of less than 40%. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had the lowest percentage (10%), Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) had the highest (14%), and Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) had the highest (16%).
On the better attendance at private schools, Bharat Gajipara, president of Gujarat Self Financed School Management Association said, "Students, as well as schools, want to clear students' queries that rose during the online classes. So everyone is happy with the reopening of schools. Also, nearly 25 percent syllabus is yet to be covered. The attendance will pick up after a week since this is a marriage season and many are traveling."
Though attendance was low, Manan Choksi, president of the Association for Promotion of Prominent Schools, an association of private schools in Ahmedabad, said it is likely to improve.
On January 7, the education department ordered all schools to cease offline education for grades 1 through 9, which was later extended to February 11. Only online teaching was permitted. All government, self-financed, and grant-in-aid schools affiliated with all boards in the state were affected.
However, on February 5, Education Minister Jitu Vaghani announced that online and offline sessions would resume on Monday.
The state education administration opted to keep the existing teaching structure of both offline and online lessons for Classes 10 and 12. On Monday, the state's secondary and higher secondary schools (Classes 9-12) recorded an overall average attendance of 42%.