Less than 30 per cent attendance was recorded as schools for class 9 and 11 reopened across Gujarat Monday, more than 10 months since they were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While only 27 per cent students of class 9 attended school on the first day, an overall 28 per cent attendance was recorded for class 11. Most schools cited lack of transportation facilities as one of the major reasons for the tepid response, while some pointed out they had completed the curriculum during online classes.
Coaching and tuition classes for competitive exams too resumed in the state Monday.
According to the data compiled by the state education department, the overall attendance for class 9 was 27 per cent, where tribal districts of Dahod recorded only nine per cent and Chhota Udepur 13 per cent attendance. The highest of 38 per cent attendance was recorded in Mehsana.
Among cities, Ahmedabad and Vadodara recorded third and fourth lowest attendance in the state with 16 and 18 per cent respectively.
Class 11, too, recorded only 28 per cent, the state education department data stated. Dahod again recorded the lowest of nine per cent attendance followed by Ahmedabad with 15 per cent and Chhota Udepur 17 per cent. Tapi and Bhavnagar recorded the highest of 43 and 40 per cent attendance, respectively.
General secretary of Gujarat Self-Financed School Management Federation Bharat Gajipara said, “It has been over 20 days since classroom teaching for classes 10 and 12 have begun. Also, due to the availability of Covid-19 vaccines, most parents no longer fear the coronavirus disease.”
Referring to the low turnout on the first day of classes 9 and 11, Gajipara said transportation facilities are yet to resume in a majority of the schools. “The numbers will automatically increase once these are back on roads. In Rajkot, schools that have their own transportation facilities got a very good response as compared to others,” he added.
The executive director of Udgam School for Children Manan Choksi, who is also the president of Association of Progressive Schools, said, “It was very difficult to arrange consent letters, ensure preparation for teachers and transportation facilities within a short notice.” The school chain did not resume offline teaching for classes 9 and 11 on Monday.
Among the schools that resumed with a lukewarm response was Delhi Public School, Bopal, which recorded only 20 per cent attendance for class 9 and 11. “Our online classes did well and we have already completed the syllabus on January 29. So, more children are in a mood to study and prepare for examinations at home only,” DPS Bopal principal Surender P Sachdeva said.
Three weeks since schools for class 10 and 12 resumed on January 11, the attendance recorded on Monday was 50 and 54 per cent, respectively. Ahmedabad and Vadodara cities recorded the lowest Class 12 attendance of 21 and 28 per cent, respectively. Botad and Devbhoomi Dwarka recorded the highest at 62 and 60 per cent, respectively.
Ahmedabad and Vadodara also recorded the lowest attendance of 32 and 33 per cent, respectively, for class 10, while Botad recorded the highest of 62 per cent on Monday.