New Delhi: Enrolment of students has gone up considerably in private schools but dipped in government schools in recent years, according to latest data available with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
Surprisingly, private schools in underdeveloped states such as Bihar and Jharkhand, apart from Odisha, have witnessed a sharp increase in student enrolment, while those in other states, which are not underdeveloped, have only seen a steady rise.
The data presented by the HRD ministry in Parliament two weeks ago revealed that enrolment of students in private schools has gone up to 8.3 crore in 2017-18 from 6.9 crore in 2013-14.
In government schools, the number has dipped from 19.9 crore in 2011-12 to 18.9 crore in 2016-17. The number of enrolment has gone down by over 91 lakh in government schools, according to the data.
Private schools in Bihar, Jharkhand saw sharp rise
In Bihar, the number of students attending private schools has gone up to 17.2 lakh in 2017-18 from 5.3 lakh in 2013-14. In Jharkhand, the number has shot up to 12 lakh from 8.7 lakh.
Explaining the increase in student enrolment in private schools, Professor R. Govinda, former vice-chancellor, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, said: “Enrollment has been going up in private schools because government schools are not performing up to the mark, especially in underdeveloped states where no attention is paid to running schools properly.”
“Parents do not hesitate sending their kids to good schools even if that means spending more money,” he added.
‘Teachers don’t come on time in govt schools’
According to the ministry’s data, government schools in Jammu and Kashmir have seen a sharp decline in student enrolment. The number has gone down to 16 lakh in 2016-17 from 19 lakh in 2011-12.
In Madhya Pradesh, 1.2 crore students had enrolled in government schools in 2016-17 as opposed to 1.5 crore students in 2011-12.
“Government schools do not even have teachers coming on time, how will they function well? I feel that government does not pay enough attention to functioning of government schools. In fact, even the new education policy draft also does not talk about ways in which schools can be made to function properly,” said Professor Govinda.
‘Govt trying to start early childhood education’
An HRD ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint, that apart from poor infrastructure and facilities in government schools, there is a general perception that private schools would be good.
“Other than this, the absence of kindergarten and pre-primary classes in government schools also contributes to this. Parents send their children to private schools so that they could get access to early education,” the official added.
“In order to counter this, government is trying to start early childhood education in its schools so that children can get admission in early classes and then continue in the same school till high school,” he said.
The official further said that attempt is being made to improve the quality of teaching by paying attention to teacher education so that the problem is solved at the basic level.