Published: 04th July 2019
Significant decline in enrolment in elementary schools by 2040, says Economic Survey 2019
The first Economic Survey of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government's second tenure has been tabled in the Parliament just one day before the Union Budget 2019
The Economic Survey of India 2018-19 has stated that there will be a significant decline to be witnessed in elementary school-going children (5 to 14 age group) over the next two decades. It also says that the states need to consolidate or merge schools to make them viable rather than build new ones.
The Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the 2018-19 survey in the Parliament on Thursday, which is just a day before presenting the Union Budget 2019. It has projected that India would grow at seven per cent in 2019-20 and maintain its fastest-growing large economy tag in the world.
The survey's prediction about school enrolments might be considered viable as between 2010-11 and 2015-16, student enrolment in government schools across 20 Indian states was seen falling by 13 million, while private schools acquired 17.5 million new students, according to a study by a professor of education and international development at the Institute of Education, London. However, in 2016, in the state of Kerala, the proportion of children (aged 11-14) enrolled in government schools increased from 40.6 per cent in 2014 to 49.9 per cent. In Gujarat too, there was an increase from 79.2 per cent in 2014 to 86 per cent in 2016, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2016 data.
Several other studies through the years have suggested that while universal enrolment has been achieved at the elementary level (Class I-VIII), the enrolment has been observed to consistently fall with successive levels of education. India’s enrolment rate in primary education (Class I-V) is comparable to that of developed countries. However, it falls behind these countries after Class VI. In higher education, India’s enrolment rate stands at 23 per cent, as compared to about 87 per cent in the United States, 57 per cent in the UK and 39 per cent in China. The dropout rate, however, peaks at the secondary level (Class IX-X) at 17 per cent, as compared to just four per cent in elementary school (Class I-VIII) and two per cent in upper secondary school (Class XI-XII).
The survey also highlighted that the working age population will grow by roughly 9.7 million per year during 201-31 and 4.2 million per year during 2031-41.