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Drive lifts enrolment in high schools

- HRD awareness campaign draws Plus Two students to fresh admissions in 20 state-run cradles

Ranchi, Sept. 11: The human resource development (HRD) department has extended a campaign to draw students to fill Plus Two classrooms at 20 state-run high schools in Ranchi, spurred by success in changing mindsets to improve enrolment in the institutes.

The awareness campaign, which kicked off on July 27 and was supposed to end in August, will now continue till September 15, education officials said.

Owing to lack of basic infrastructure such as laboratories and equipment, besides teacher crunch, the level of interest shown by students in joining state-run high schools has been poor for several years.

The department opted to carry out the drive to admit as many students as possible across science, commerce and humanities streams in 20 schools in both urban and rural areas. Every school has 128 seats each in the three streams.

Plus Two classes have already begun following admissions in June. However, officials pointed out that a majority of the seats was yet to be filled in the schools.

Officials began the campaign by spreading awareness among parents and holding rallies at the village level, paying door to door visits and putting up banners and posters with the help of volunteers.

Their efforts have thrown up positive results already. According to a district education official, the vacant were getting filled at a steady pace in city-based Marwari Boys’ High School.

Mangla Prasad Mishra, a science teacher with the school, said all the seats in science and humanities were filled.

“In the first three weeks of August, the seats were filled fast. More students were turning up for admission, but we had no seats left,” Mishra informed.

Govardhan Nath Pandey, the principal of Mandar High School, echoed Mishra.

“We were able to fill all the seats in humanities, while the campaign drew 25 students to science,” he said, adding many students from remote areas of Mandar enrolled last month.

District education officer of Ranchi Maheep Kumar Singh said that the exact number of students admitted newly would be known after a meeting of principals on September 11 to compile the data.

He pointed out that at a high school in Ormanjhi, an overwhelming rush of students prompted the authorities to double the number of seats in humanities.

Also, a school in Silli attracted 31 students after drawing a blank during the admissions in June.

“We are aiming to fill the seats and have also made provisions to add necessary equipment in laboratories. Besides, practical rooms will also be converted to new labs and five teachers each have been appointed in the 20 schools,” Singh said.

Para-teachers, who have been recruited for the purpose, will earn a fixed honorarium per class.

The district education officer added: “We have directed all the principals to hold meetings every two months to take stock of attendance.”