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Over 1,600 govt schools ceased operations in Uttarakhand; nearly 3,600 on verge of closure


DEHRADUN: Despite claims to bolster the ailing education system in Uttarakhand, the situation seems to have worsened in the state. The latest report from the state's education department has indicated a concerning trend: government schools are witnessing a surge in student vacancies.

According to information received from the Directorate of Education office, a total of 1,671 schools have been shut down across the state due to a lack of students, while the student enrollment in 3,573 schools has dwindled to 10 or fewer students. Similarly, there are 102 schools where only one student is enrolled per school.

In Pauri district, a staggering 315 schools have ceased operations, marking the highest closure rate across the state. Conversely, Udham Singh Nagar district has experienced the least impact, with only 21 schools shutting down, as per the latest report.

This comes ahead of the upcoming academic year, which is set to commence in the state on April 1.

The Directorate General of Education (DGE) had recently requested a report from all chief education officers in the state regarding the status of schools closed in the various districts.

Quoting information gathered from the districts, Director General of Education Banshidhar Tiwari told this newspaper: "Based on the reports we have received, the student enrollment in 3,573 schools has dwindled to 10 or fewer students. Among these, the highest number of such schools, totaling 785, are located in Pauri district, whereas the lowest count of three schools falls within the jurisdiction of Haridwar district."

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government claims it wants to adopt the Finland model to enhance education standards in lieu of the declining educational standards in the state. The state education minister, accompanied by departmental officers, undertook a four-day visit to Finland and Switzerland in pursuit of this strategy.

According to sources from the Directorate, in the state, Almora district has 197 closed schools, Bageshwar has 53, Chamoli has 133, Champawat has 55, Dehradun has 124, Haridwar has 24, Nainital has 82, Pauri has 315, Pithoragarh has 224, Rudraprayag has 53, Tehri Garhwal has 268, Udham Singh Nagar has 21, and Uttarkashi district has 122 schools that have been shut down.

The Director General of Education, Banshidhar Tiwari, further told this daily that "reports were sought from all districts of the state regarding closed government schools. The buildings of such schools will be used as 'Anganwadi centres', homestays, ANM centres and village Panchayat halls, which will benefit the public by utilising the available infrastructure."