Chandigarh: Government schools in Chandigarh are way ahead of private ones when it comes to attracting the brightest brains. Thanks to excellent results and low costs and upgraded technology.
In most parts of India, state-run schools are associated with poor infrastructure and unsatisfactory results, which is not the case in Chandigarh where admissions began on Tuesday.
With many students from the region preferring to opt for top government schools in the city, especially classes 10, 11 and 12, getting admission in them is all the more difficult.
Even the students of elite private institutes opt for the government schools of Chandigarh when it comes to seeking admission in Class 11. Students from states like Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are also applying to government schools here.
The top choice among government schools are the Government Model Senior Secondary Schools (GMSSS) in Sector 16 and 35 here.
"Our school has a consistent history of excellence. Every year we give top results in the region. Even this year, all the toppers in science, commerce and humanities in Class 12 are from our school," GMSSS-16 Principal RK Sharma said.
Going by last year's trends, the government schools are expecting cut-offs to touch another high this year. Last year, GMSSS-16 saw the science and commerce stream cut-offs to touch 86 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively.
The school boasts of alumni like union ministers Kapil Sibal and Ambika Soni, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan, several top serving and retired bureaucrats and police officials.
"This time again competition is very tough with an increase in the number of applicants and the cut-off percentage for both the science and commerce streams will certainly rise," Sharma said.
GMSSS-35 Principal Raviraj Kaur said, "We strive for quality in the field of education and that puts us ahead of private schools here."
Those associated with the city's education system feel that outstanding faculty and well-equipped infrastructure are the reason for their popularity.
Setting a precedent in classroom teaching, interactive hi-tech boards have been introduced in the two government schools in Chandigarh.
The boards are the same size as regular blackboard size but can be operated through tablet writing pads given to the teacher. The teacher is not required to stand near the board and can operate it even from a distance by writing on the tablet writing pad.
Chandigarh's Public Instructions Director SK Setia said that these boards will replace the traditional chalk and talk method of teaching with a more lively, interactive and hygienic way of teaching.
"The unique thing is that whatever is projected or taught on the board can be stored simultaneously in the shape of hard copies. This can be retrieved afterwards which can help students revise lessons at their own pace," Setia added.
Under Chandigarh's education system, students passing out of Class 10 have to take admission afresh in class 11 in the case of government schools, making the competition tougher for everyone. Some leading private schools do not even have plus two classes.
There are over 4,315 seats available in the science and commerce streams in 17 government senior secondary schools here. There are over 100 government schools of various levels in the city.
Government schools in Chandigarh are also running in-house preparation capsules for entrance exams like All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) and Common Entrance Test (CET) for medical.
There are also other advantages of state-run schools. "One does not need to spend on tuitions if one is studying at a government school. Here teachers are more focused and dedicated towards us," a student of a government school Sahil Malhotra said.
"In government schools, one can enjoy unmatched facilities by paying very little in monthly fees. Our libraries, laboratories, hi-tech boards, multimedia rooms and sports room are all well-equipped," Kaur pointed out.