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
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
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.