2021 in numbers: Recovery in education is not same for genders or states

Updated on Dec 25, 2021 03:26 PM IST

The loss of jobs and incomes due to the pandemic has also meant that children were put out of school in 2020

Financial distress could also be a likely factor influencing another shift in school education that the pandemic has brought about (Raj K Raj/HT FILE PHOTO) PREMIUM
Financial distress could also be a likely factor influencing another shift in school education that the pandemic has brought about (Raj K Raj/HT FILE PHOTO)
ByAbhishek Jha

One big impact of the social distancing measures required for preventing a surge in Covid-19 infections has been on education. This impact is not just limited to the shift to online modes of learning. The loss of jobs and incomes due to the pandemic has also meant that children were put out of school in 2020. With some recovery in economic activity, there has been a reversal in this trend in education in 2021. However, like the economy, even this recovery in education has been far from uniform. Here are four charts that show how.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), conducted by ASER Centre, gives data on the educational status of school-going children. Its 2021 survey was conducted through interviews on a mobile phone across 581 districts and 76,000 households in rural areas in September. This showed that the share of out-of-school children decreased from 5.5% in 2020 to 4.9% in 2021. This 2021 share is still 1.23 times of the 4% of children who were out of school in 2018, the last time the ASER survey was conducted before the pandemic.

The recovery has been slightly better for girls than boys. The share of girls out of school is 1.17 times that in 2018, while the share of such boys is 1.35 times that in 2018. To be sure, a higher percentage of girls were out of school in 2018 and 2020 than boys. This changed in 2021, with 5% boys out of school compared to 4.8% girls.

<iframe title=”The pandemic has narrowed down the gender-gap in enrolment” aria-label=”Interactive line chart” id=”datawrapper-chart-YepNi” src=”https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/YepNi/1/” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0” style=”width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;” height=”400”></iframe><script type=”text/javascript”>!function(){”use strict”;window.addEventListener(”message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[”datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(”iframe”);for(var a in e.data[”datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data[”datawrapper-height”][a]+”px”}}}))}();</script>

An HT report on the basis of the 2021 ASER survey had earlier shown that economic distress was the main driver of major changes in enrolment. This could be a possible reason for the gender difference in out-of-school children narrowing down after the pandemic. Boys, more than girls, are likely to be put to work to manage financial distress because of social norms.

Financial distress could also be a likely factor influencing another shift in school education that the pandemic has brought about - the shift in enrolment to cheaper government schools. In the 7-10 years old age group, the share enrolled in government schools has increased 1.09 times compared to 2018 to 70.3%. In the 15-16 years old age group, for whom education is costlier, this ratio is 1.17. The difference in government school enrolment across different age groups was wider in 2018 than it was this year. <iframe title=”The shift to government schools was bigger among older children” aria-label=”Grouped Column Chart” id=”datawrapper-chart-7h3O2” src=”https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/7h3O2/1/” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0” style=”width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;” height=”400”></iframe><script type=”text/javascript”>!function(){”use strict”;window.addEventListener(”message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[”datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(”iframe”);for(var a in e.data[”datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data[”datawrapper-height”][a]+”px”}}}))}();</script>

Changes in neither of these parameters – share of children out of school and those enrolled in government schools - were uniform across states. In Uttar Pradesh, the share enrolled in government schools increased 1.3 times between 2018 and 2021 to 56.3%. On the other hand, their share decreased in states like Assam, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, and Uttarakhand. <iframe title=”Government school enrolment did not increase by the same degree everywhere” aria-label=”Split Bars” id=”datawrapper-chart-iXkG3” src=”https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/iXkG3/1/” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0” style=”width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;” height=”738”></iframe><script type=”text/javascript”>!function(){”use strict”;window.addEventListener(”message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[”datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(”iframe”);for(var a in e.data[”datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data[”datawrapper-height”][a]+”px”}}}))}();</script>

In most of these states, this decrease has been likely brought about by an increase in children out of school. The share of children out of school in Manipur, for example, increased from 1.1% in 2018 to 15.5% in 2021. In Uttarakhand, their share increased from 1.4% to 4.5%.

<iframe title=”Most states where government school enrolment has fallen have also seen fall in overall enrolment “ aria-label=”Split Bars” id=”datawrapper-chart-812NL” src=”https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/812NL/1/” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0” style=”width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;” height=”738”></iframe><script type=”text/javascript”>!function(){”use strict”;window.addEventListener(”message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[”datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(”iframe”);for(var a in e.data[”datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data[”datawrapper-height”][a]+”px”}}}))}();</script>

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhishek Jha is a data journalist. He analyses public data for finding news, with a focus on the environment, Indian politics and economy, and Covid-19.

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