Even the poor ignore Government schools

A recent study has revealed that the number of economically backward families sending their children to private schools has doubled in the last five years. Even parents in rural and remote areas are choosing to enrol their children in private schools rather than sending them to a government school. Private schools are preferred because of the more favourable teacher-student ratio, better quality of education, focus on English and communication skills, and accountability among teachers. Those who cannot afford the fee have taken loans to ensure that their children get a better education.
Young Lives India conducted a longitudinal study among two different groups of children, from one to eight years and eight to 15 years of age. The study showed that the number of students enrolling in private schools from economically weak families had doubled, from 23.2 per cent in 2009, to 44.1 per cent in 2013. The percentage of boys enrolled in private schools has increased from 25 to 51 per cent and that of girls from 21 to 37 per cent. Private aided schools have been kept out of the study and the annual income of the parents surveyed was 150 per day. Dr Renu Singh, country director of Young Lives India, said, "In our study, 44 per cent of government schools had less than 60 students, and just two teachers, whereas just about 0.9 per cent of private schools had less than 60 students and more than seven teachers." She also mentioned that though many government teachers are qualified, because they are selected through a fixed process, not many are willing to work in remote areas because of the poor pay and infrastructure. There is no accountability, no regulation or even revision of pay to encourage them to work there."
Narayana, a watchman in an apartment, shifted his daughter from a government school to a private school only because he wanted her to speak English fluently. "On my salary, I cannot not provide her with everything another child in her school would get. I had to take loans to pay her fees. The people I work for contributed and paid her school fee and now she will be able to survive in the competitive world," he said.
Dr Sudhakar P., president of the Telangana Private Schools and Colleges Private Association, said, "It is the duty of the government to provide free and quality education to all children. Since government schools are not providing what is expected of them, many have to switch to private schools." He added, "We are paying taxes for the construction of these schools and yet we are not able to avail of the services."
P.V.N. Raju, an electrical engineer at L&T, who studied in a government school, has admitted his daughter to a private school. "When I was studying in the 1980s, the teachers were enthusiastic and vibrant. These days they barely come to school. Private schools have updated teaching techniques and more exposure.? Subhash Boda, chairman, Rockwell International School said, "Government schools lack basic facilities. In Hyderabad, an organisation called the Round Table India is providing drinking water connections to schools. There is lot to introspect on."
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