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January 7, 2012

3.37 lakh have left government schools: study 



Even as a law is enacted to guarantee eight years of free and compulsory education to children, the flow of children out of government schools and into private schools seems incessant in the State.

As many as 3.37 lakh children have left government schools since the 2008 Assembly elections till 2010-11, while enrolment in private schools rose steadily in the same period, according to a study by India Governs Research Institute.

Currently, 22 per cent of all schools in the State are privately owned.

The study on educational status in Assembly constituencies across the State, released on Thursday, says that there were 35.37 lakh children in government schools from classes I to V in 2008-09, while only 32 lakh of the same batch remained in school in 2010-11.

Gender factor

“The number of children in private schools has gone up since 2008-09. For the boys, the number has gone up from 36 per cent in 2008-09 to 42 per cent in 2010-11,” says the study. The percentage of girls in private schools has gone up from 33 per cent in 2008-09 to 38 per cent in 2010-11, which also points to a gender bias in sending children to private schools.

The enrolment of girls was higher than that of boys in only eight constituencies. In all, 2.63 lakh fewer girls than boys enrolled in recognised schools in 2010-11 from classes 1 to 8. As many as 14,092 schools (24 per cent) have no toilets for girls.

Northern districts

The highest number of children leaving government schools, over 10,000, is reported from the Chittapur and Chincholi constituencies, both in Gulbarga district and reserved for the Scheduled Castes.

They also had the highest number of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes children leaving government schools.

Interestingly, Chincholi constituency received the highest grant in 2010-11 of Rs. 79.26 lakh.

The 10 worst constituencies, which have the highest number of children leaving government schools, are all from North Karnataka districts.

The 10 worst constituencies with poor basic infrastructure such as drinking water and toilets are also in the northern districts.

There are 10,187 private unaided schools in the State, of which 23 per cent are in Bangalore district. Gulbarga North has the next highest with 187 private schools in the constituency.

Drop out?

The study warns, however, that all those who leave government schools are not necessarily moving to private schools.

“Though the number of children in private schools in the same batch went up during this period, the increase does not account for all children leaving government schools,” says the report, suggesting that a section of them may have dropped out of school altogether.

Even as Right to Education mandates reservation of 25 per cent of seats in private schools to children from economically and socially backward groups, only nine MLA constituencies have met the norms in Class 1 enrolment in 2010-11.

The study is based on data sourced from District Information System for Education.