A school’s journey from closure to being sought-after

It had less than 100 students in 2003. In 2019, it broke its own records and took in 247 students in less than an hour

The Government Town Lower Primary School, Cherthala, was once on the brink of shutting down for want of students following an influx of private schools. It held out but was pushed to the margins. There were less than 100 students in its roll for the 2003-04 academic year.

That said, the school has made a remarkable turnaround in recent years. From less than 100 students one-and-a-half decades ago, the number has grown to 870 in 2021. As many as 160 students have so far joined Class 1 in the school for the academic year 2021-22, which is the highest among government schools (not including aided schools) in Alappuzha.

In 2018, the school entered the Best of India Records by enrolling 233 students in four hours on April 12. It broke its own record a year after, when the school admitted 247 students in less than one hour on May 3, 2019.

Established in 1919, today, the Government Town Lower Primary School, Cherthala, has one of the largest numbers of lower primary students among government educational institutions in the State. Its journey from the brink of closure to one of the most sought-after primary education institution in the region was made possible by interventions made by former students, prominent personalities, teachers, and teachers organisations.

The school offers quality learning and focuses on English language acquisition programmes. High-tech and digital classrooms, a dedicated website, library, Youtube channel, language camps, garden, children’s park, and bus facility are some of the attractions that make parents enrol their children in the school blessed with the footprints of Mahatma Gandhi who visited the institution on January 18, 1937.

“We have been able to attract more and more students to the school. The institution is seeing a year-on-year rise of around 8% in new admissions. This shows the trust of parents and well-wishers,” says, S. Dhanapal, headmaster, Government Town Lower Primary School, Cherthala.

Arvind Kumar Pai, a teacher of the school, attributes good teamwork backed up by quality learning programmes and support of the public that helped achieve the feat. “One big challenge the school faces is the shortfall of adequate benches and desks to accommodate new kids when regular classes begin after the pandemic. We expect the government support in addressing the issue,” Mr. Pai said.

For the time being, classes will be held online from June 1 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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