In its bid to prevent thinning out of students from civic schools, especially Marathi and Urdu medium, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Education Board would be launching a special ‘media campaign’ to increase enrolment at its 310 schools in the city. A budget of Rs 10 lakh has been set aside for the campaign that will commence in the first week of March.
For the first time ever, the board would be using mediums like hoardings, flex boards, road shows and even advertising on some private television channels to promote its schools. The board officials believe that this kind of promotion would help boost numbers in classrooms in the new academic year, which starts in June. The proposed campaign would be on between March and May.
“Students dropping out is a major problem. Several parents want to enrol their children in private English medium schools. But the fact is, facilities we provide in our schools are on par with the ones offered in private schools. The only problem is that awareness about PMC-run schools in society is very low. The proposed campaign will succeed in doing the needful, which is the need of the hour,” Education Board Head Shivaji Daundkar said.
“We are going to fix electronic signboards at five major locations in the city. Besides, we will be arranging special road shows, through which we would be covering slum areas in the city.”
One of the important aspects of the promotion drive would be door-to-door visits and awareness meetings. “We are going to include all 2,500 teachers and 1,500 employees, including all officers of the education board in this drive. They will hold small awareness meetings in the areas where we can expect enrolments in schools located in the vicinity of these areas,” Daundkar said.
Deputy Education Officer Shubhangi Chavan said the main problem the board faces is the lack of awareness on the part of slum dwellers about the existence of civic schools in the vicinity.
“Parents are clueless about our kindergartens, where we provide free education and uniforms to children aged between three and six. We can highlight all the facilities through our special campaign on local television channels. If we are able to attract children through this campaign, then it will increase the overall number of students across all the 310 schools,” Chavan said.
Member of Education Board Shirish Phadtare said it was a genuine attempt on the part of the board to attract students from all strata of society to the well-equipped civic schools, and he praised the decision to conduct a special campaign to promote civic schools.
“We believe that the said campaign will definitely increase the number enrolments in our schools for the upcoming academic year, which commences in June,” Phadtare said.
As parents prefer enrolling their children to English medium schools, civic schools witnessed a record number of enrolments for the current academic year that stood at 3,359 students. While the fall in the number of students seeking admissions to Marathi, Urdu and Kannada medium was recorded at 3,096. The number of students from Std I to Std VII at civic-run English medium schools shot up from 7,613 on September 30, 2011, to 10,972 in July 2012. A similar increase was observed at kindergarten-level, where the number of admissions recorded for the current academic year is 6,198 students.
Students in Marathi medium
September 2011: 66,758
July 2012: 64,182
Total dropouts: 2,576
Students in Urdu medium
September 2011: 7,140
July 2012: 6,651
Total dropouts: 489