The state government in Himachal Pradesh is all out to compete with the private schools in outlook and strength.

Over the years, there have been a considerable decline in the enrollment of students in government schools of the state.

Alarmed over the trend, the state Education Department has instructed all teachers of the government schools to increase enrollment rate and outlook of the general public towards the government institutions.

The teachers have been asked to involve local communities for improving outlook towards private schools at their own level. They have also been directed to organise activities for involvement of locals.

“We have instructed the teachers to the aware general public about the facilities and qualified teachers in the government schools so that they are inclined to send their wards to government schools,” Dr Brij Lal Vinta, Director, Higher Education told The Statesman.

He said that most of the time, it has been that private schools lack of qualified staff and the parents are still preferring them over government schools. “The teachers need to disseminate information on these issues at their own end so that parents could make informed decisions,” Vinta said.

He said that the government is also planning to introduce a new, smarter dress code so that students could feel confident.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the enrollment rate in government schools was 89 per cent in 2003-04 while the private schools share was just 11 per cent. But in 2015-16, it had come down to 55 per cent in government schools and the private schools have managed to register over a four-fold increase to 45 per cent.

Himachal Pradesh has a total student strength of 14,44,260 students both at the elementary level and senior secondary level. There were 18,039 schools in the state in 2015-16 of which about 85 percent (15, 327) schools were government institutions and the remaining 2,712 schools were private institutions.

In 2015-16, the enrollment in government primary schools was 3.23 lakh students, which had dropped from 5.89 lakh recorded in 2003-04. While in private schools the enrollment had increased from a mere 77,000 in 2003-04 to 2.57 lakh in 2015-16.

Interestingly, in 2003-04 there were around 1,000 private schools in Himachal Pradesh and the number has increased to 2,712 in 2015-16.