It is heard that 2,500 ‘non-viable’ private secondary and higher secondary schools in the state of Gujarat are to be closed. A survey was conducted by the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) recently where several schools with students below an average number were identified. As a result of the survey, it was found that there are around 2,500 of such schools out of which a few did not have even one student in some classes.
Around 555 schools were found with only a single digit number of students in secondary classes. Seeing this, a consent for closing 120 such schools have already been received by the school trustees. The final decision on the fate of these schools will be taken in the executive meeting of the board, scheduled on November 27. If these schools come to a closure then it will highly reduce nearly 6,800 self-financed secondary and higher secondary schools in Gujarat that are affiliated to various boards. Confirming the development, GSHSEB chairman A J Shah said that though the closure is not a compulsion but a recommendation has been given to the schools to rule out unhealthy competition among themselves and cut down on non-viable costs. He stated that “It came to our notice that there are schools that are not feasible to operate due to very few number of students. Also, with mushrooming of private schools, there are several schools within a few kilometers. So we want to check unhealthy competition among such schools”. The GSHSEB also said that if a school has got sufficient number of students in primary classes, it can continue to operate till Class VIII. However the final decision is yet to be taken by the board’s executive body post which the schools will be shut down with immediate effect. Also, for the students studying in the schools which will be closed after the final decision made, will be shifted to nearby schools. The board will ensure that studies of not a single student is affected by the closure of the schools. It is only for the students’ good as the board aims to offer them quality education without any compromise. A similar move was taken for government primary schools in 2012 and then again in 2013 to close or merge government schools with less number of students. As a result 13,450 schools with 100 or less than 100 students, 6,826 primary schools with 50 or less students were identified. But, both the years, the move to close or merge schools was stalled after strong opposition from organisations and villagers. The GSHSEB is the nodal agency that provides permission to open secondary and higher secondary schools. It even gives permission to upgrade primary schools to secondary and higher secondary level.
By: Anuja Arora