Enrolment in Maharashtra’s primary schools has dipped in 3 years, says state survey
However, the number of students at secondary level continued to rise.mumbai Updated: Mar 11, 2018 00:27 IST
The Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2017-18 has revealed that enrolment of students at the primary education level in Maharashtra has been sliding for the last three academic years, even as the number of students at secondary level continued to rise.
The data has been compiled by the Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad (MPSP) through Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE).
According to the data compiled in the last two economic surveys, the number of students enrolled at the primary level (Class 1 to 8) dipped from 1.617 crore in 2014-15 to 1.591 crore in 2017-18 – a drop of 1.6%.
Meanwhile, enrolment at the secondary and higher secondary level (Class 9 to 12) increased by 7.6%, from 61.8 lakh to 66.48 lakh over the course of three years.
Despite the state government’s freeze on recruitment of teachers, the number of teachers increased at both the levels, between 2014-15 and 2017-18. It has reduced the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in primary schools to 29.3 –an improvement of 2.8 points. In secondary schools, however, PTR increased by 2.3 points to reach 30.5 due to the increase in student enrolment.
While experts have raised doubts over the accuracy of the data, they have suggested that the drop in enrolment in primary schools could be a result of the rising drop-out rates and the dip in fertility rates across the state.
“It needs to be ascertained if the government has been able to gather all the data. Sometimes, students who migrate to other schools are not taken into consideration. Students dropping out from school could be another explanation for the slide,” said Farida Lambay, co-founder of Pratham, a city-based non-governmental organisation which conducts its own pan-India survey called Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).
The proportion of out-of-school children in the state has been declining for the last few years, said Lambay.
A study of 1,11,270 households, conducted by the state government between July and December 2017 and presented in the recent economic survey, found that 99.3 per cent children from the age group of 6-14 years were attending school. Among the remaining, about 0.3 per cent have never attended and 0.4 per cent have enrolled but are currently not attending.
About 47 per cent persons of age 15 years and above have passed at least Class 10.
Govind Nandede, a former commissioner (primary education) of state confirmed the slide in enrolment, even though he said that the data suffers from under reporting.
“Some schools don’t register on U-DISE creating an illusion of low-enrolment. Lower birth rates are also a factor for the slide in number of students in primary schools,” he said.
The experts provided a variety of explanations for the rise in secondary-level enrolment.
Milind Mhaske of Praja Foundation, which conducts annual survey of schools run by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said that the migration of students from outside Maharashtra to study in the state after Class 8 is one of the reason for increasing enrolment.
However, according to Nandede, it is a result of the state’s Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan. “Ratio of students dropping out after class 8 has reduced,” he said.