As many as 2,524 government schools in Punjab have been transformed from dilapidated infrastructures to exemplary complexes of educational activities in the past one year.
Without any government aid, the change has been ushered in by the school staff with the help of NRIs, corporate settings and public.
Reflecting the impact of the change, Government Senior Secondary School, Dhada Fateh Singh in Hoshiarpur, added 150 students in the current academic session. Principal Salinder Singh said: “Besides, at least 102 students have already enrolled for the next academic session (2019-2020).”
He said he started meeting eminent people from his village in January last year. “I got financial aid of Rs 70,000 on the very first day. I was informed about the way to contact NRIs and more money came.
We could manage bathroom tiles for Rs 1.75 lakh, bathroom repairs for Rs 80,000, water coolers for Rs 35,000 and a revamp of the electricity system for over Rs 1.25 lakh. We were able to give uniform to girls and also started two school buses,” he said.
Manju Bhardwaj, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Bhaini Baringa (Ludhiana), said: “There has been over 15 per cent increase in the number of students in the past one year. The parents of more than 100 students have already expressed interest in getting their wards enrolled for the next session.”
She said the school had enough public participation in the past too. “They had got 20 rooms constructed. The interest is more visible in the context of financial aid and enquiries for admissions now. The biggest reason has been our teachers shifting to taking lessons in English,” Bhardwaj said.
Sanjeev Thapar, principal of GSSS, PAU, said: “This is an English medium school for the past 20 years and the biggest inspiration has been public participation. Our latest innovations have attracted more enquiries about fresh admissions from scores of parents for the next session.”
Education Minister Om Prakash Soni said: “Our aim is to cover at least 5,000 schools under the ‘smart schools’ category before the next academic session ends.”
He rubbished allegations of privatising education in the name of development. “These are all rumours. Managing government schools is the job of the government and we are doing our job with full dedication,” he added.