Number of students opting for private tuitions rose sharply in 2021: ASER
The jump was seen across states, including in Bihar and West Bengal, where students were found to have greater dependence on tuitions even before the pandemic stuck
About 40% of school going students were found to be dependent on private tuition classes in 2021 against last year’s figure of 32.5%, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021 released on Wednesday, said, calling the rise a “natural response” to prolonged closure of schools due to Covid pandemic since early 2020.
The report also shows that the maximum number of such students were from less advantaged families.
The 16th edition of the report by the Pratham foundation was based on a household telephonic survey conducted in rural areas across 581 districts in 25 states and three Union Territories, between September and October. As many as 76,706 households that included 75,234 children in the age group of 5-16 years apart from teachers and staff from 7,300 government schools were covered.
According to the survey, more students were found dependent on paid tuition classes during the pandemic period with their percentage rising from 32.5% in 2020 to 39.2 % in 2021. This figure was 28.6% in 2018 in the pre-Covid times.
The jump was seen across states, including in Bihar and West Bengal, where students were found to have greater dependence on tuitions even before the pandemic stuck. “In fact, the incidence of tuition has increased across almost all states- perhaps a natural response to prolonged school closure,” the report states.
States like Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland saw the sharpest increase in tuitions between 2018 and 2021. In Arunachal Pradesh, the number of students opting for tuitions increased by 19.7% from 26.6% in 2018 to 46.3% in 2021, followed by UP and Nagaland where it rose by 19.1% each. In UP, the number went from 19.6% in 2018 to 38.7% in 2021 and in Nagaland, it increased from 27.9 % in 2018 to 47% in 2021.
Kerala bucked the trend with the number of students opting for private tuitions dropping from 28.3% in 2018 to 18.8% in 2021. Dr Wilima Wadhwa, director of ASER centre suggests it could be because children may not have been able to attend even tuitions due to relatively higher number of infections in the state during the second wave, which persisted longer than most other states.
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In terms of gender, the report highlighted that the percentage of girls seeking tuitions remained less than the number of boys. However, from 2018 to 2021, there was a 10% increase in tuition-taking practices of both sexes, reflected in the jump from 30% to 40.3% in case of boys and 27.2% to 37.9% in case of girls.
The highest dependency on tuition classes was reported among children from less advantaged families. “Taking parental education as a proxy for economic status, the proportion of children with parents in the ‘low’ education category who are taking tuition, increased by 12.6%.” said the report. This data was compared to the 7.3% increase in children whose parents were in the ‘high’ education category.