HYDERABAD: In what seems to be an irony, the city has more number of seats being offered by schools than students. In direct violation of the Supreme Court order in 2012 which had asked governments to regulate the surge of private schools, Hyderabad has at least eight private schools in every 5 km radius. The statistics by the school education department reveals that cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai have only 3-4 schools in every 5 km radius.
The alarming increase in the number of schools is a trend seen in the last five years, with big schools setting up branches in different areas. While there are around 9 lakh students in the city, the number of seats being offered by the 2,000 government and private schools in Greater Hyderabad is close to 16 lakh, a figure critics say is unheard of in other cities. Sadly at the same time, students in neighbouring districts like Nalgonda, Warangal and Ranga Reddy are struggling to get a seat given the less number of schools there.
"The government has sanctioned more schools for the city this academic year, adding on to the existing schools. Close to 40 per cent of the seats in most schools are left vacant every year as there are no takers," said S Srinivas Reddy, president, AP Recognised Schools Managements Association. The association had petitioned the state government as early as September 2012, asking it to regulate fresh sanctions being accorded to schools.
"Private managements set up schools in prime localities like Hyderabad as they tend to reap more benefits from cities than rural areas. But the government must allow for an equal distribution of schools in both rural and urban areas as per the requirement," said R Venkat Reddy, director, M V Foundation, an NGO working on school education.
However, when asked about the massive increase in the number of schools, officials of the school education department said they are left with no option but according sanctions. "The constitution allows for the setting up of institutions and we have been giving permission to institutions which have fulfilled the requirements specified under the AP Education Act," said an official. Critics, however, said that the city has way more schools than the department can inspect regularly.
The government should immediately crack down on the proliferation of schools in congested localities. It is saddening to see that on the city outskirts and in remote districts, students have to trek for hours to reach their schools. The government should immediately impose a ban on city schools trying to open branches and instead ask them to set up schools outside the city. Hyderabad wants quality education for its children and they have enough schools for it.