What Economic Survey says about education: Decline in…

By, New Delhi
Feb 02, 2023 08:12 AM IST

The survey tabled by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Tuesday said financial year 2021-2022 (FY22) witnessed an improvement in the gender parity in school enrolment, growth in basic infrastructure facilities at school level, and a better pupil-teacher ratio in schools.

Enrolment of students increased in schools across the country in financial year 2022, with an additional 194 million students being enrolled, while at the same time the drop-out rate witnessed a “steady decline”, the economic survey 2022-23 said.

According to the survey, 265 million children were enrolled in schools across the country with around 194 million additional children being enrolled in primary to higher secondary levels. PREMIUM
According to the survey, 265 million children were enrolled in schools across the country with around 194 million additional children being enrolled in primary to higher secondary levels.

The survey tabled by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Tuesday said financial year 2021-2022 (FY22) witnessed an improvement in the gender parity in school enrolment, growth in basic infrastructure facilities at school level, and a better pupil-teacher ratio in schools.

UNION BUDGET 2023: FULL COVERAGE

According to the survey, 265 million children were enrolled in schools across the country with around 194 million additional children being enrolled in primary to higher secondary levels. Of these 194 million, around 10 million children were enrolled in pre-primary (pre-nursery, nursery and kindergarten), 122 million in primary (classes first to fifth), 67 million in upper primary (classes sixth to eighth), 39 million in secondary (classes 9 and 10) and 29 million in higher secondary classes (classes 11 and 12).

The enrolment has increased at all levels except for pre-primary. “At the pre-primary level, enrolment reduced from 1.1 crore [11 million] in 2021 to 1.0 crore [10 million] in 2022,” said the survey.

Read | What does the Economic Survey tell us about the Budget?

The survey says that the financial year 2021-22 saw an improvement in Gross Enrolment Ratios (GER) in schools across all levels. GER stands for the enrolment in a specific level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the eligible official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education in a given school year.

“The GER in the primary enrolment in class I to fifth as a percentage of the population in age 6 to 10 years – for girls as well as boys have improved in FY 22. This improvement has reversed the declining trends between FY17 and FY19,” the survey said.

According to the survey, at the upper primary and primary level, the GER for girls is better than that for boys.

For instance, at the primary level, 104.8% girls and 102.1% boys were enrolled in 2021-22. It recorded an improvement from 2020-21 when 104.5% girls and 102.2% boys were enrolled. Similar trends have been observed at the upper primary level as well. In 2021-22, 94.9 % girls were enrolled as opposed to 94.5% boys. This was 92.7% and 91.6% for girls and boys respectively in 2020-21.

In higher education, the total enrolment increased to nearly 41 million in FY21 from 39 million in FY20. Since FY15, there has been an increase of around 7.2 million in enrolment , approximately by 20%. “The female enrolment has increased to 20 million in FY21 from 19 million in FY20,” said the survey.

The survey highlighted an increase in the GER in higher education as well. “The GER in higher education, based on 2011 population projections (revised), was recorded at 27.3 in FY21, which is an improvement from 25.6 in FY20. The GER for males increased from 24.8 in FY20 to 26.7 in FY21 while GER for females has also shown improvement from 26.4 to 27.9 during the same period,” it said.

The survey highlighted a “steady decline” in school drop out rates at all levels from 14% in 2020-21 to 12.6% in 2021-22. The survey emphasised that government schemes such as Samagra Shiksha, and Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, improvement in school infrastructure and facilities, residential hostel buildings, availability of teachers, regular training of teachers, free textbooks, uniforms for children, and the PM POSHAN Scheme played the major role in increasing enrollments and retaining students.

It also mentioned that distance education in India also witnessed a 7% increase in enrolment in the financial year 2021-22 from FY20, and 20% increase since FY15.

“Basic facilities in schools continued to improve in FY22 over earlier years except for medical check-ups in schools as the schools remained closed physically in the wake of Covid-19 curbs,” the survey stated.

In terms of school basic facilities, including toilets (girls or boys), drinking water, and hand-washing facilities, and digitisation, the survey showed a significant improvement. For instance, the number of schools having the internet increased to 33.9% in 2021-22 from 24.5% in 2020-21.

Terming Pupil-Teacher Ratio as an indicator which is inversely related to improvement in quality of education, the survey stated that it has improved at all levels continuously between FY13 to FY22. “It has increased from 34.0 to 26.2 at primary, 23.0 to 19.6 at upper primary, 30.0 to 17.6 at secondary, and 39.0 to 27.1 at the higher secondary level. The improvement in the number of schools, teachers’ availability, and facilities in schools is expected to help improve enrolment and reduce dropout rates,” the survey started.

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