However, the headmasters of the government primary schools, especially those in urban areas, are worried about how to adjust the newcomers due to an acute shortage of space.
The enrolment campaign is meant to create public awareness of their children’s admission to schools, mostly primary ones.
According to the headmasters of primary schools, their classrooms already have three to four times more students than the capacity and therefore, accommodating the newly-enrolled students is going to be a tall order.
The teacher-student ratio fixed by the government is 1-40 (one teacher for 40 students) but the government schools, especially those at the primary level in the province, have a few teachers for lots of students.
During a recent visit to several primary schools in the city area, this correspondent found 140 to 150 students sitting in one classroom.
A teacher of one such school said: “Look how we’re teaching children. This is not a classroom and instead, it’s a crowd of children.” He said suffocation in classrooms was intolerable but teachers and students had no choice but to stand it.
The teacher said things worsened during the suspension of electric supply. Another teacher, who was sitting in a chair with 120 students sitting on the ground, said he spent most of his duty hours controlling students instead of teaching them.
He said classes were overcrowded and therefore, students complained against each other of inconveniencing them.
The teacher said it was impossible for him to check the students’ homework and guide them.
“If I spend one minute to check their homework, it will take two hours for me to do it leaving little time for taking lessons,” he said.
An educationist said academically, it was not possible to reach each student in the classroom.
He said individual attention couldn’t be paid to the students which they needed the most in early grades.
“When a large number of students are sitting in the classroom, they couldn’t apprise teachers of their problems. As a result, their problems are never resolved,” he said.
According to the education department sources, Government Girls Primary School, Shahdanad has nine rooms but 1500 students are enrolled there, so each classroom has around 166.
Similarly, Government Girls Primary School Afghan Colony has 15 rooms for 2032 students, so each classroom has 135 students on average. These source say there are many more schools in the city where enrolment rate is high but classrooms are a few in number.
An educationist said overcrowded classrooms in government schools were a hurdle to quality education.
He said the problem of overcrowded classrooms had been created mainly by shortage of schools and shortage of classrooms in the existing schools that too lack facilities.
The educationist said there was no proper seat arrangement in the classrooms due to which the teacher had no communication with students sitting in the last row.
“There should be a proper space among rows to help students and teachers easily move in the classrooms but it is not possible as the classrooms are very congested,” he said.
The educationist said students sitting in the last row complained that they could neither see the blackboard nor hear the teachers, but the administration had no solution to the problem.
When approached, Director at Elementary and Secondary Education Department Rafiq Khattak said the government built additional classrooms in schools every year on need basis.
He said the government was committed to rationalising teacher-student ratio in schools.
Source: The Dawn