Karwar: Government schools in the rural areas of Uttar Kannada district are grappling with a severe shortage of students, raising concerns about the possible closure of these institutions. In the Sirsi educational district alone, more than 10 junior primary schools are at risk of shutting down due to dwindling enrollment.
The shift towards private schools has been a significant factor behind the declining attendance in government-run Kannada schools. Many parents are choosing to enroll their children in private institutions, citing concerns about the quality of education provided by government schools.
In the academic year 2023-24, eight schools in the educational district had to be closed due to the lack of students. Out of a total of 620 junior primary schools in the district, 252 schools are currently identified as having more than 10 students. However, if the number of students falls below five in these schools, there is a looming possibility that Kannada medium and government schools might have to shut their doors.
Furthermore, in addition to the eight schools that were closed this year, grant-aided schools in Sirsi s Shinganahalli, Kottigehalla, Siddapur taluk’s Muthalli Kodsara, Thuru, Yallapur’s Barigadde, Baginakatta, Mottegadde, and Dandeli have also been completely shut down. All of these closures pertained to junior primary schools.
P. Basavaraju, Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), confirmed that eight schools in Sirsi educational district had temporarily ceased operations due to a lack of students in the 2023-24 academic year. The teachers from these schools have been reassigned to other institutions. It’s worth noting that there’s also a shortage of teachers in government schools across certain taluks in the entire district, and efforts are underway to address this by appointing guest teachers.
Subraya Bhat Bakkala, an educationist , expressed his concerns about the imminent closure of government schools in rural areas. He emphasized that eight government schools had already been closed largely due to declining enrollment. Bhat attributed this trend to parents’ desire to provide an English-medium education for their children. He urged the government to prioritize education by hiring qualified teachers who can offer English language instruction. Insufficient infrastructure, including the lack of proper transportation connections in many areas, also contributes to the enrollment decline. Bhat emphasized the need for government intervention and awareness campaigns to encourage parents to send their children to government schools and improve educational facilities in rural areas.