Bharat Goyal, Founder, Director
Expert View

Why smaller cities need well-equipped schools: Their role and importance

By Bharat Goyal, Founder & Director, BHARTIYAM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL.

Next to just the United States and China, India has the third-largest education system in the world. Right from the pre-primary stage to the higher education level, India has premier institutes for students of all ages.

The presence of a robust education system in India was the biggest prerequisite for climbing the ladders of development as more than 50% of the population of the country is less than 25 years of age. However, not all of the country saw clusters of good schools in equal proportion. The metro cities, like in other development parameters, outperformed the Tier II and Tier III cities in the number of good and well-equipped schools.

Why the gap?

The metropolitans, offering better job opportunities, saw a huge influx of skilled and unskilled people from smaller towns. Consequently, the wealth trickled much more smoothly in metros. Thus, well equipped schools which usually charge a hefty fee remained a luxury only for the students in urban centres as the return on investment for good schools in metros was assured. This fueled inequality between students from metros and those from smaller cities as the education standards were diametrically different for children living in different areas.

The perks of a well-equipped school

Better faculty, better classes, better playground, better science labs, better computer lab, better auditoriums, better libraries, better exposure… the list goes on and on. All these factors bring about a great difference in the learning of a child. It is no secret that a student who gets the best facilities is better prepared for cracking the entrance exams of top universities and then the job market.

Laboratories make lessons more stimulating and help students learn more quickly. Also, it has been found out in several studies that lessons taught in labs through experiments are better retained in a child’s brain. For instance, the concepts of science, that are difficult to explain via science textbooks in a classroom set up, can be easily taught to students in laboratories.

The present state of schools in smaller cities

Let alone labs, several schools in Tier II and Tier III cities even do not have basic infrastructure like good ventilation in all the classrooms, fans, lights, benches, chairs, blackboards, toilets, water taps, and others. In lack of these facilities, students are less motivated to come to school. This, in turn, decreases the attendance and the interest of students in learning. Not just the students, lack of amenities even impacts the productivity of teachers.

Moreover, many schools are being run in a few rooms in crowded market places. In such schools, a student is hardly able to concentrate on subject textbooks due to the hustle and bustle from vehicles passing by. In a study, it was revealed that students from smaller schools with minimal facilities have a higher dropout rate. Such students are hardly able to acquire skills to earn a decent livelihood and end up getting employment in the highly underpaid unorganized sector.

A positive shift

Though the metros continue to enjoy a better battery of elite schools, people have started picking satellite cities as their place of permanent residence rather than saturated urban centres. Gradually, the Tier II cities close to metropolitans are witnessing a growth rate faster than even the Tier I cities. This reflects pretty well in booming property prices and the shifting of companies in these Tier II and Tier III cities.

As prosperity is reaching smaller towns, education standards are also touching new levels. Today, Tier II cities like Dehradun, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Kozhikode, Vizag, and others have a good number of well-equipped schools. In fact, the beautiful and serene state of Uttarakhand, which has no metropolitan city, has the best private schools of the country.

This gradual but steady change is providing more and more options to the students and guardians living in smaller cities. This shift is expected to bridge the gap between the education standards in smaller cities and metros. Also, the calm of smaller cities makes for a better learning environment for students.

Facilities to look for while finalising a school

Ø Well ventilated and spacious classrooms

Ø Well educated faculty

Ø Well lit rooms

Ø Well stocked libraries

Ø Well-equipped laboratories

Ø Auditorium

Ø Playgrounds for different sports like cricket, football, and volleyball, among others

Ø Space for indoor activities such as table tennis, acting, and dance

Ø Lush green campus

Ø Swimming pool

Ø Examination halls

Ø Audio visual rooms

Ø Storage spaces like lockers

Ø Sanitation and potable water arrangements

Ø Multiple entry and exit points for emergency situations

Ø Regular holding of competitions and workshops

Ø High-speed internet connectivity

Take a wise call

Just like it is challenging for an architect to build a skyscraper without a solid foundation, it is difficult for students to become good working professionals without receiving education from a good school. Be it metros or smaller cities, guardians/parents must put great stress on finding the perfect school for their child as a good school with all required facilities will nurture a child holistically.

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