More kids in schools now, but they are also bunking classes

Annual Pratham report: Not much change in pupil-teacher and classroom-teacher ratios, but improvement in better provision of separate girl’s toilets

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | January 16, 2012




The student enrolment rate in rural areas has been constantly increasing. It has been steady since 2010 at 96.7%. But there has been a decline in children’s attendance. From 73.4% in 2007 it has declined to 70.9% in 2011 in rural primary schools, says an annual report on the state of education in the country.

There is a sharp decline in attendance in some states. In Bihar it has declined to 50% from 59% in 2007 and in Madhya Pradesh it was 67% in 2007 and it has declined to 54.5% in 2011.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011, prepared by the NGO Pratham, conducted a survey covering 6.5 lakh children in 16,000 villages across 558 districts. The report was released by HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Monday.

The report shows that private school enrollment is rising in most states. Percentage of private school enrollment has increased to 25.6 from 18.7 since 2006. The rate is higher in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.

Madhav Chavan, an educationist and co-founder of Pratham, said, “25% of children are paying for private schools and 22% are paying to private tutors. So parents are finding means to educate children other than government schools.” He added, “The RTE says that private schools which do not follow the norms should be closed down. But the question is that there is a large percentage of children depending on them.”

The basic arithmetic levels among children have also shown a decline. Only 29.9% children of class three can solve a 2 digit subtraction problem than 36.3% in 2010. Among class five children the ability to do similar subtraction problem has dropped from 70.9% in 2010 to 61% in 2011.

Tracking the right to education act, the report says that there is not much change in compliance on pupil-teacher ratio and classroom-teacher ratio. But there has been an improvement in better provision of separate girl’s toilets. The proportion of schools where there was no separate toilet for girls has declined from 31.2% in 2010 to 22.6% in 2011.

Sibal said, “The RTE act was launched in April 2010 and only by end of 2011 large number of states have formed their rules. It will be unfair to look at RTE outcome when it has not even been fully enforced.” The minister added that there will be a visible change seven years down the line.

ASER 2011 FULL REPORT

Also read:

States not doing enough for education: Sibal

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