Gujarat trails most states on primary education: HRD report

Gujarat is ranked 33 among 35 states and union territories in terms of access, in a report published by the human resource development ministry

New Delhi: Gujarat remained at the bottom of the primary-level education rankings in terms of providing access to schools to children, a new report published by the human resource development ministry (HRD) said on Wednesday.

Gujarat was ranked 33 among 35 states and union territories in 2013-14 in terms of access. It was ranked 34 in the previous fiscal and 33 in the year before that. Only Kerala (35) and Daman and Diu trailed behind Gujarat, where Narendra Modi was the chief minister for 13 years before he became the Prime Minister last month.

In terms of access at the primary education level, Meghalaya was ranked number one, followed by Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, said the report released by HRD minister Smriti Irani.

At the upper primary level, Gujarat was ranked 19 in 2013-14 in terms of access, as against 15 in 2012-13, said the report that is prepared annually by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), a body under the HRD ministry.

The indicator on access was created by taking into account the density of schools per 10 sq. km, availability of schools per 1,000 child population and ratio of primary to upper primary school.

A senior minister in the Gujarat government declined to comment.

In terms of infrastructure, Gujarat was ranked fifth and in terms of teachers it was sixth and on education outcome the state was ranked 16 at the primary level in 2013-14, according to the report.

In terms of the composite educational development index for 2013-14 which takes into account both primary and upper primary schools, Gujarat was ranked eighth. It was ranked 18th in 2012-13.

While Puducherry was ranked number one in the composite index, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka were the other four states and territories in the top-five list.

The report, also known as the District Information System for Education (DISE), is a district-based data base and gives information for schools in the country, HRD ministry said in a statement.

A ministry official declined to comment specifically on Gujarat, from where minister Irani is a Rajya Sabha member. The DISE report will help the government in finding solutions to problems at hand, the official said, declining to be identified.

“The country has witnessed phenomenal expansion of school education system in recent years. Effective monitoring of such a vast system spread over diverse conditions...demands comprehensive data," said R. Govinda, vice chancellor of NUEPA, in the report.

Gyan Varma in New Delhi contributed to this story.

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