Dip in enrolment in BBMP-run schools, colleges
The exodus of migrant families from the city during the early days of the lockdown and the impact on the education of their children is reflected in the enrolment in schools and colleges run by the civic body. According to Bruhat Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, children of migrant labourers are yet to turn up for admissions even through the process is well under way.
Hundreds of children of migrant labourers from across the State and even from outside Karnataka study in these schools. “Only a few children of migrant families obtained the transfer certificate (TC),” said a BBMP official expressing concern over whether they will continue their education in their hometowns.
Around 11,800 students – from Class 1 to degree colleges – have enrolled in civic-run institutions so far. “The total strength in the last academic year was around 17,500, including nursery. This year, we are yet to begin admissions for nursery classes,” a senior BBMP official said.
J. Manjunath, Special Commissioner (Education), BBMP, said that there was a slight dip in the admission for II PUC as well. “We will get in touch with such parents and see to it that they get admission as soon as possible, and also as and when they come back,” he said.
Admissions are open till the end of September, and civic officials expressed hope that the intake will increase by then. “There will be a substantial increase in the number of admissions once nursery classes begin,” Mr. Manjunath added.
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad admitted to a shortfall in enrolment. “Once people return, we will make sure that their children return to school and that the process is simple,” he said.
Social workers, however, say the authorities should be more pro-active in tracking down students so that no child is left behind..
“The civic body and the government should follow up on such children. If they are no longer in Bengaluru, it is the duty of the government to ensure that they join schools or colleges in their respective hometowns,” said Nagasimha G. Rao, director, Child Rights Trust.
Vidyagama Scheme grows in popularity
As many as 7,000 children studying in BBMP schools are part of the Vidyagama Scheme, a continuous learning programme introduced by the government. It involves mainly activity-based classes that are held in open spaces.
Even as the civic body grapples with various challenges, including lack of suitable open space and the fear of spread of COVID-19, it has managed to introduce the programme in over 15 primary and over 30 high schools in the city.
“We want to get all the students on board, but some have left the city and others do not turn up due to fear of COVID-19,” said Special Commissioner (Education) J. Manjunath.
School and college buildings to be renovated
Taking advantage of the lockdown, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to renovate 36 school and college buildings.
“Many school and college buildings, especially in North, South and East zones, are decades old, and are in need of renovation,” a senior BBMP official said adding that the BBMP Engineering Department had inspected the buildings and work is set to begin soon.
The renovation will include repair and construction of toilets, construction of additional class rooms, paintings, and renovation of the play areas.
“Schools in Ganganagar and Kasturba Nagar have got more admissions. There is a need for additional classrooms. Hence, we will build new classrooms in such schools,” the official said.