India: Principal urges migrants in Surat to send kids to school

Surat - Many of the parents have had to remove their children from private schools, where fees are high.

By Web Report

Published: Tue 22 Jun 2021, 8:25 AM

The principal of a municipal school in Surat, Gujarat, has been going around parts of the city, urging parents to get their children enrolled in the civic school.

Chandrashekhar Nikam, the principal, accompanied by two teachers, interacts with parents in Pandesara, a locality that has many migrants from the neighbouring districts of Maharashtra. He speaks to them in Marathi, urging them to send their children to the municipal school.

Armed with a microphone, he has been interacting with several parents over the past week every morning for nearly two hours. Nikam is the principal of a Marathi medium school run by the Surat Municipal School Board. It has 350 students studying in classes I to VIII.

Many of the parents have had to remove their children from private schools, where fees are high. The Covid crisis has seen many of them losing their jobs and unable to fund their children’s education.

Nikam and his team tell the parents that admission to the municipal school is free and uniforms, shoes and books are provided by the civic body. Additionally, each student is entitled to a scholarship of Rs1,100, he tells them.

The start of the Covid pandemic last year saw a sharp fall in admissions to the civic schools, especially with many of the migrants returning home. “We started having problems in admissions to Class 1 since the academic year 2020 when we got just 20 students,” he told a newspaper. “We could not campaign earlier due to the lockdown, but this year because of the relaxations, we have launched a drive.”

In the pre-Covid days, the school would get about 50 new students in class I. “The residents here are mostly from poor backgrounds who do petty jobs, leaving their children at home with grandparents,” said Nikam. “Hence we chose mornings for the awareness campaign so that we could reach out to the parents.”

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