TIMES NEWS NETWORK, April 18, 2017

Source: The Times of India

Pune : Teachers Play Pivotal Role In Admission

The Pune zilla parishad (ZP) has managed to admit 42,000 students from Anganwadis in the district to Standard I in over 3,700 ZPrun schools.Primary schoolteachers from these schools played a key role in convincing parents to send their children to ZP schools rather than private institutions.

In a bid to drive up school enrolment at the primary level, the ZP has taken up various measures to ensure parents do not look to private schools for their children.

“Normally , students from Anganwadis join primary school in June when the new academic year begins,“ Daulatrao Desai, chief executive officer, Pune ZP, told TOI.

“What we have done is ask these students to attend std I once or twice a week from April 1, as per their liking. As a result, the children now insist they want to go to the ZP school. Our schools are open for another week or so; we had a good three weeks to experiment with this idea, and it is proving very successful,“ he said.

In previous years, Desai said, after the Anganwadis shut for vacations, parents would enrol their children into private schools. Only a few came to ZP schools. “But we ensured that there was no gap after the Anganwadis closed for summer, and got them enrolled in our schools before they looked anywhere else,“ said Desai.

ZP schools provide free education, books and stationery , because of which parents prefer to admit their children here rather than pay high fees in private institutions.

The teachers also took special efforts to drive up enrolment numbers, with each teacher taking up responsibility for a few Anganwadis in their respective areas.

Dhanaji Satam, a teacher in Bhor, said, “We went to a nearby Anganwadi for almost a month and maintained a constant dialogue with parents. Most of those parents were not well-educated, but we convinced them of the quality of education imparted in our schools. Of the 50 students, we have enrolled almost 36 students in ZP schools on April 1.“

Similar efforts have been undertaken by teachers in different areas of the district. Some even went to the students’ homes to talk to parents.

Shivaji Gund, another ZP teacher, said, “While many parents initially were more inclined towards enrolling their children in private English medium schools, we showcased a few of our teaching techniques, which convinced them.“

The ZP even plans to invite the parents of these children to school for an orientation session on the functioning of the schools through the year. This is so that they develop trust.

Smita Shirsath, mother of a std II student in a ZP school, said, “The quality of education imparted by ZP schools is at par with any medium-level English school in the city. Private schools have entered the rural market and parents often get attracted to the advertisements in newspapers and on hoardings.But the fees are sky-high and the quality of education is no different.“