Bihar commits 17.7% of its total budget on school education. Yet, it spends a meagre Rs 9,583 per student, compared to Rs 32,263 spent per student by Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) across the country, a study has shown.
The study by Child Rights and You (CRY) and Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), says Bihar’s per student spending is much less than the expenditure incurred by states like Goa (Rs 67, 041), Kerala (Rs 38,811), Tamil Nadu (Rs 23,617) and Karnataka (Rs 22,856).
The study, covering 10 states, namely Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jhakhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, has found that, at one teacher for every 56 (1:56) students, the pupil- teacher ratio (PTR) is very high in Bihar.
It shows 63% of all primary school in the state do not meet the mandated PTR ratio of 1:30.
The study has also expressed concern that the state, which spent 19.3% of its 2012-13 budgetary allocation on education, has reduced its budgetary allocation by 2% over the past four years.
Despite its high growth rate in recent years, Bihar’s spending on school education largely remains stagnant at around Rs 25,000 crore, the study states.
On the positive side, Bihar budgets an average of 5.6% of Gross State Domestic Produce (GSDP) on education whereas at the national level, the total budgetary spending on school education has remained stagnant at 2.7 % of GDP for the past four years.
The study rues that although Bihar has nearly 3.4 crore school going children in the age group of 6 to 18 years, about 2 lakh posts of teachers are vacant in the state. Besides, only 1.6% of the total school budget has been earmarked for teachers’ training.
The state also reports lowest percentage of professionally trained teachers (52%) among the studied states, implying a severe under funding in critical RTE parameters, resulting in overcrowded classrooms attended by handful of unqualified teachers.
The study also shows teachers of the state are getting less salary in comparison to other states.
On the positive side, Bihar spends 22% of its budget on SC/ST children, who constitute about 30% of its population of school going age.
Protibha Kundu of CRY sums it up by saying, “Even though it allocates close to one-fifth of the total budget for school children, Bihar still remains the state with overcrowded classrooms attended by fewest number of teachers”.
CBGA director Subrat Das said, “India’s prevailing quantum of budgetary spending on education is inadequate not just because it falls short of benchmark recommended by Kothari Commission but also because of the paucity of funds for almost all important areas like availability of teachers, their training, monitoring of schools and others.”
CRY programme head (East) Mahua Chatterjee said: “Despite clocking the growth rate of more than 15% over the past few years, and having spent consistently almost one-fifth of its state budget for school education, Bihar lags behind in per-studnt spending.