Jump in students taking private tuitions after Covid: ASER survey

Published on Jan 19, 2023 12:21 AM IST

The proportion of students from classes 1 to 8 opting for paid private tuitions increased by over four percentage points in 2022, in comparison to pre-Covid-19 levels, according to an ASER survey.

According to ASER’s 2018 report, 15.7% of children in Uttar Pradesh, 61.6% in Bihar and 36.9% in Jharkhand opted for tuitions that year.
According to ASER’s 2018 report, 15.7% of children in Uttar Pradesh, 61.6% in Bihar and 36.9% in Jharkhand opted for tuitions that year.
By, New Delhi

The proportion of students from classes 1 to 8 opting for paid private tuitions increased by over four percentage points in 2022, in comparison to pre-Covid-19 levels, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 released on Wednesday.

The survey, which covered 699,597 children in the age group 3 to 16 from 19,060 villages across 616 districts, said an uneven rise was recorded as states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand saw an increase of over eight percentage points.

According to ASER’s 2018 report, 15.7% of children in Uttar Pradesh, 61.6% in Bihar and 36.9% in Jharkhand opted for tuitions that year.

ASER is a nationwide household survey that provides a snapshot of children’s schooling and learning in rural India.

According to the report, the proportion of students opting for private tuitions increased from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022. However, the latest percentage is lower in comparison to 2021, when the pandemic-induced schools closure pushed the percentage to 40%.

“It appears that in the post-pandemic period, the practice of private tutoring may spread and grow in other states as young educated people prepare for, and wait for, a job,” the report said.

In its 2021 report, ASER said the massive increase in the number of students taking tuitions was a “natural response” to the prolonged closure of schools due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2022 report said that 70% of children in Bihar and 45% in Jharkhand were taking tuitions. Similarly, 10% were taking them in Himachal Pradesh and 15% in Maharashtra.

Among other states are West Bengal (73.9%), Bihar (71.5%), Tripura (68.8%), Manipur (53.5%), and Odisha (53.6%).

“Tutoring seems to have been a tradition in several states such as West Bengal and Bihar, where the proportion of children going to private schools was low and nearly 70% children were going to tutors. Large numbers of young people in villages earned a living by tutoring children in these states,” the report said.

The ASER report also highlighted that basic abilities to read and calculate among children in age group 5 to 16 in both government and private schools recorded a sharp decline during the pandemic. However, the drop in basic reading ability is higher than basic arithmetic, the report said.

ASER Centre director Wilima Wadhwa said there is a possibility that the supplemental help in form of tuitions was successful in restricting the learning loss in some states amid the pandemic.

Experts said these private classes helped students “fill the gap” amid closure of schools during the pandemic.

“Also, there was a considerable shift of students from private to government schools. This is supplemented by a rise in tuition to compensate for the perceived gap in school quality. In the years ahead, we shall see if the gap is filled by moving back to private schools or to a combination of tuition and edtech options,” educationist Meeta Sengupta said.

Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School in Delhi, said: “At a time when classes were held online, many parents enrolled their kids to tuition classes thinking they were not getting proper attention. But, as soon as schools reopened and children started attending offline classes and participating in other activities, they stopped doing that. It clearly shows that tuition classes cannot replace the classes students attend in their schools.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Fareeha Iftikhar is a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. She tracks the education ministry, and covers the beat at the national level for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different policy matters.

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