Andhra Pradesh state government started the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (APSWREIS) in 1984 to provide quality education to poor SC, ST, and OBC students by establishing the residential schools, a step that was path breaking in those days itself. This tiny step not only rescued thousands of children, from becoming dropouts, but also transformed them as employable by ensuring their entry into the impervious domain of higher education.
Amidst growing concerns over quality of education in the state run schools in the rural India, APSWREIS has emerged as the lone bright spot by producing thousands of outstanding despite many challenges. In 2013 alone it had sent approximately 60 students to IITs and NITs and hundreds to medical and engineering colleges in the state. Students of APSWREIS schools have been consistently showing extraordinary performance in the board examinations vis-a-vis other state run educational institutions.
There are 177 residential schools for students of Class V to Class XII with 97,708 students. 75% of the seats are reserved for SCs, 12% for converted Christians, 6% for the Scheduled Tribes (ST), 5% for the Backward Castes (BC), and 2% for Other Castes (OC). Reservation is also provided for children who are the victims of worst human rights abuse and natural calamities. APSWREIS has evolved as an institution that particularly cares for girls with about 91 institutions (69%) reserved for girls. There are about 4000 teachers in the society making teacher-student ratio to 1:32.
APSWREIS is a grant in aid institution whose budgetary requirements are totally provided by the government of A.P. It has a unique plate to slate approach where all amenities including tuition, boarding, books, uniform, foot wear, plates, toiletries, etc are provided to the children at State’s cost.
APSWRIES has robust infrastructure with 162 school complexes functioning in own building and another 17 are under construction. APSWREIS has been the pioneer in leveraging technology both, in administration and education and made rapid strides in achieving efficiency through technology. Today all 177 institutions are a part of an intranet with assured connectivity, own an e-mail service and a website. The academic progress of the students and teachers is monitored online through Student Academic Monitoring System (SAMS). The staff gets salaries online through HRMS-Payroll System . Today APSWREIS is reaching out to almost 161of its institutions through state run SAPNET, ‘MANA TV’ to arrange lectures for EAMCET, LAWCET, I-CET by the experts. APSWREIS continues to stay tuned with the recent advances in technology in education field.
To sustain academic excellence and achieve all-round development of the students, a dynamic model, ‘P-5’ is implemented in all the institutions with five essential components viz. teacher empowerment, creating learning environment, promoting competitiveness, utilizing technology, and involving the community.
APSWREIS: A PATH-BREAKING INNOVATION:-
“Only educated are free”- Epictetus (55-135 AD)
While the poorest in the nation are relentlessly pushing their living standards upwards due to support extended by the governments, the state of Andhra Pradesh triggered a different revolution in the lives of poor by giving them free education. Andhra Pradesh state government has decided to provide quality education to the students of Scheduled Caste (SC), Schedule Tribe (ST), and other Backward Community (OBC) sections and has started, in 1984, Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (APSWREIS). The sole objective of the society is to provide quality education to poor children by ‘catching them young’ and empower them with requisite skills so that they pursue higher education without any hitch.
While the number of students enrolled in the government run schools remained volatile, the social welfare residential schools continued to attract students since inception, thanks to their commitment to quality education. Getting admitted into Social Welfare Residential Schools is considered as a status symbol and passport to employment in rural areas even today. Students of APSWREIS schools never belied the expectations of their parents and the community at large. Thousands of students of these institutions continue to join civil services, medical, engineering, teaching professions even today. For instance, in the last 12 years alone these institutions could send more than 60 students to IITs and NITs and hundreds to medical and engineering colleges in the state despite many challenges.
SOCIAL WELFARE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS: SAGA OF STEADY GROWTH
The number of SWR schools steadily rose from 46 in 1984 to 177 today giving education to 97,708 students. Besides these schools, APSWREIS also runs 34 Kasturiba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) in the state. Education at SWR schools starts from Class V to Class XII. Since 2002 the society has been running an IIT coaching center at Nagole, which had produced more than 200 students who have joined IITs, NITs, IIITs and premier Engineering colleges in the country. Enthused by Nagole’s success, in 2006-07, the APWREIS created three centers of excellence in co-ed model to coach students to crack medical and engineering entrance examinations. The entry level to CoE is IX class and students are admitted through entrance examination.
SWR SCHOOLS: GAIN FOR THE GIRLS
There are whopping 121 girls’ schools, 54 boys’ schools and 02 Co- education schools in APSWREIS today. The number of these institutions is likely to grow in future.
On an average, each district has 12 institutions today. In 2006-2007 three co-ed institutions were started as centers of excellence in the three regions of AP to train students for various national and state level competitive examinations. Government of AP is planning to create one SWR School each for every assembly constituency reserved for SCs under SC Sub-Plan. Following is the present breakup of the institution. Besides, 03 degree colleges for girls have been sanctioned.
PLATE TO SLATE APPROACH:
Students walk into APSWREIS almost empty handed, but leave the institution with treasure of knowledge, confidence and robust health. The society gives the students everything that is required for the stay and study. Following are the facilities extended to the students at State’s cost:
- Boarding & lodging facilities
- Note books and stationery
- Bedding material
- Trunk box
- Plate and glass
- Three pairs of uniform and a pair of PT dress
- One pair of canvas shoes and socks
- Free health care
- Cosmetic charges
- Washing and hair cutting charges
All the above items are procured either through centralized purchases or decentralized purchases as per the government rules in force. The committees constituted for this purpose at various levels do a thorough quality check on all the items before they are distributed to the students.
ELABORATE ADMINISTRATIVE MECHANISM:
The Head of the society is the Secretary who is usually an All India Service officer. The secretary is assisted by an Additional Secretary (non-cadre) to look after academic wing and a Joint Secretary to look into administration. There are deputy secretaries who look into academics, exams, training, amenities, information technology, and engineering. There is a separate post of Finance Officer who is on deputation from the Treasury service who looks into financial section including the budget. The head office is located in Hyderabad.
Principal is the head of the school/college. 9-12 junior lecturers, 18 resident teachers, four (4) special teachers, one librarian, and one staff nurse assist principal in an upgraded institution. Teaching staff is assisted by 5-9 non-teaching staff (ministerial staff) and five class-IV employees who work as attenders and watchmen/watchwomen.
Usually every teacher enters the system at the rank of trained graduate teacher (TGT), who then will be promoted as Post-Graduate Teacher (PGT), Junior Lecturer, and then Principal. Thirty percent of the principals are recruited directly through the rigorous entrance examination and interview. The society has been recruiting contract or part-time teachers regularly to fill up the vacancies. Senior most principal is designated as the District Convener to look after the supply of all amenities by coordinating with the district administration and the head office. AP is divided into six administrative zones and the senior most eligible principal acts as Deputy Secretary or Zonal Officer (ZO) of a zone, which on an average comprises of three districts.
A board of governors supervises society’s functioning. The chairman of the board is minister for social welfare, government of Andhra Pradesh. Vice-Chairman is the Principal Secretary to the government, Department of Social Welfare. Other board members include Commissioner of School Education, Commissioner, College Education and some experts in the field of education.
LIFE IN THE SOCIAL WELFARE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL:
Stay in the APSW Residential School equips students with many survival skills in life unlike other institutions. Above all, students grow up with a strong sense of camaraderie and discipline. They develop a strong bond with their instructors, as the latter also stay at the places of their posting wherever quarters are available. Typical daily schedule goes as follows: