The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) runs 72 schools (of Marathi and Urdu medium) in the city, civic education officer Ramnath Thore told PTI on Monday.
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“In 2018-19, the number of students in the pre-primary classes (for Kindergarten education of children in the age group of 3 to 6 years) of these schools was 3,500, which came down to 2,953 in 2019-20 and fell further to 2,375 in 2020-21,” he said.
He also said the number of students in Classes 1 to 8 was 12,393 in 2018-19, and it came down to 10,838 in 2020-21. But, for the 2021-22 academic session, the number has now gone up to 11,829.
The official also informed that the strength of Clases 9 and 10 reached 1,903 in 2020-21, as compared to 1,777 in 2018-19 and 1,300 in 2019-20.
Asked about the fall in number of students in pre-primary classes, AMC Commissioner Astik Kumar Pandey said the COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed the situation.
“The admission to pre-primary classes is optional and parents don’t want to take chances. Secondly, migration is also a key issue as people might think that shifting to rural areas could be a safer option for them during the pandemic,” he said.
Pandey also said they have plans to encourage people to enroll their children in pre-primary classes, but that will be implemented after the situation normalises.
Private schools are also facing a similar situation, said Nayana Awhad, the headmistress of a private educational institution here.
“Parents feel their children’s education won’t be affected if do not join school for a year. Some of them have withdrawn admissions due to financial problems, while some cannot arrange for online classes for their children,” she said.
Thore, however, said they are hopeful that more students will get enrolled in the pre-primary classes in the new academic session.
“Our teachers are reaching out to parents for the enrollment of their children,” he added.