New Delhi: Although four out of every five elementary schools in India are run by the government, enrolment in such schools is declining while that in privately run schools is increasing, says a report released on Tuesday.
The study by National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA), run by the human resource development (HRD) ministry, highlights a low teacher-student ratio and poor infrastructure as the main challenges to India’s aim of education for all. It covered all the 1.3 million recognized elementary schools in the country.
Also See State of Education (PDF)
Learning Curve (PDF)
At least 80.37% elementary schools are run by the government, says the report.
“It is now established that bulk of the school education is being provided by the government—at the central, state and municipal level,” said Arun C. Mehta, professor at NUEPA and lead author of the report.
Overall, enrolment in primary schools (classes I-V) dropped nationwide from 134,377,324 in 2008-09 to 133,405,581 in 2009-10.
But enrolment in the upper primary level (classes VI-VIII) increased from 37.72 million in 2004-05 to 54.47 million in 2009-10, says the report.
In 274 of the 635 districts, the teacher-student ratio was in excess of 1:30 in 2009-10, down from 302 districts in 2008-09. The ratio crossed 1:60 in 12.2% of the districts in 2009-10.
The study also found that more than 100,000 schools, or 9% of the total, are run by single teachers.
“We are aware of the teacher shortage and have sanctioned over 400,000 posts during the current fiscal year,” said a senior HRD ministry official on condition of anonymity as the official is not authorized to speak to the media.
The official said the report gives a fair view of the state of education in India.
“The infrastructure, the teachers, the allied facilities have been mapped through this across 1.3 million schools in the country. This will help us in rolling out our schemes.”
Around 91% schools have drinking water facility, but only half the schools have toilets for girl students.
While 16.65% primary schools have computers, 39% of all schools surveyed had electricity connections.
Mehta of NUEPA said the study shows the schooling system has improved on a number of counts.
“Since (the) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education For All Campaign) came into being nearly a decade back, the country has added 240,000 new schools.
It means nearly one-fifth of the current schools in the elementary level have been added in these years,” he said.
The number of women schoolteachers has also increased in this period, he added.
At least 16% students in government schools drop out while moving from primary to upper primary levels.
At 38.5%, Uttar Pradesh has the highest percentage of students who complete class V but don’t enrol in class VI.
Enrolment of Muslim students at the primary level increased from 11% of total school students in 2008-09 to 13.5% in 2009-10.
At the upper primary level, it rose by 2.5 percentage points to 11.03%.
The number of instructional days in schools increased to 224 in 2009-10 from 211 the previous year. On an average, 14 days were lost on account of teachers performing non-teaching jobs such as administration and kitchen work.
Narayanan Ramaswamy, executive director at consulting firm KPMG, said the education system is getting better with the government’s reform initiatives, but further improvement is required in areas like drop out rates and teacher-student ratio.
Puducherry tops the overall education ranking, while Bihar is at the bottom of the index. States such as Orissa and Rajasthan improved their standing between 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan and Paras Jain/Mint