ET Bureau Jul 24, 2012, 04.53AM IST


Sharp decline in enrolment in government schools 


NEW DELHI: It is a wake up call for the government and its efforts to improve the quality of schooling through the Right to Education. The number of children enrolled in government primary schools has dropped by 21 lakh between 2009-10 and 2010-11 while there has been an increase of 11 lakh in enrolment in private schools.

The biggest decline in government primary school enrollment was in Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. States like Punjab saw a rise of 70,000 students in government primary schools, the increase in private school enrollment was much smaller, about 25,000 students. Other states that registered increase in enrollment were Manipur and Mizoram.

Even in Delhi, which saw a rise in enrollment in both the government and private primary schools, the preference was clearly for the private. While enrollment in government schools increased by about 14,000, the increase in private school enrollment was about 30,000.

This decline in enrollment in government schools could, in part, be explained by the decline in percentage share of government schools - from 80.37% in 2009-10 to 78.15% in 2010-11 - even though roughly 16,000 new government schools have been set up in the year. Interestingly, the share of private schools in the total schools continues to hold steady at 19.4%.

As far as state performance is concerned, Kerala no longer tops the charts when it comes to educational development index, it has been outstaged by Punjab. Kerala, which was ranked number three (the first two being Puducherry and Lakshwadeep) in 2009-10, slipped to number five in 2010-11.

The Educational Development Index, a ranking conducted by National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), has been developed keeping in mind four broad parameters - access, infrastructure, teacher-related indicators and outcomes. The index takes into account availability of schools, the average student-to-child ratio, the availability of drinking water facilities and the availability of toilets for girls and boys. States with a student-classroom ratio of over 60 to a class would be at a disadvantage.

Likewise, when it comes to teacher-related indicators of female teachers, average pupil-teacher ratio, single-teacher schools and teachers without professional qualifications have been considered while developing the index. Other indicators, which have been broadly described as outcomes used for this index include general enrollment ratio, enrollment of Scheduled Castes and Tribes children, drop-out rate, percentage of children who complete eight years of schooling compared to total enrollment, percentage of students who pass out with more than 60% marks. Kerala has slipped on two counts - infrastructure index and outcome index.