Published: 17th November 2021
Amid pandemic, enrollment in government school rise by 5 per cent, dips by 4 per cent in private schools: ASER survey
Reading closely, it was noted that the share of children in government schools rose from 64.3 per cent in 2018 to 65.8 per cent in 2020 to 70.3 per cent in 2021
From 65.8 per cent to 70.3 per cent — that's the jump government school enrollment has taken in the last year. This is according to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey conducted by Pratham Education Foundation which aimed to understand the transition when it comes to the education system of India as the COVID-19 scare comes down.
Reading closely, it was noted that the share of children in government schools rose from 64.3 per cent in 2018 to 65.8 per cent in 2020 to 70.3 per cent in 2021. When it comes to enrollment in private schools, it has dipped for the first time in recent years, from 28.8 per cent in 2020 to 24.4 per cent in 2021. In a noteworthy point, the percentage of children who haven't enrolled in schools is 4.6 per cent, the same as last year.
However, the digital divide seems to be a continuing concern. The survey found out that 26.1 per cent of children had smartphones at home yet no access to it. When it comes to younger children especially, 40 per cent of them had no access to digital devices. The report was prepared based on phone surveys which covered 75,234 children aged between five and 16, across 581 rural districts in 25 states. The survey that was held between September and October 2021 was focussed on enrollment, access to learning material, digital devices and support to children at home.
At the same time, the survey noted that more students were opting for tuition classes. Given the school closures, it seemed natural that parents would want external support for their children. The percentage of students who opted for tuitions rose from 32.5 per cent to 39.2 per cent.
The survey covered 76,606 households in 17,814 villages and the surveyors reached out to 4,872 reopened schools and 2,427 schools that were shut. Wilima Wadhwa, Director, ASER Centre released the report and said that while the proportion of enrollment of children in government schools remained steady till about 2020, it showed a dramatic rise of five percentage points since last September.
“There could be many reasons behind the rise in enrollment in government schools. Families have suffered economic distress during the pandemic. Also, during the pandemic many affordable private schools shut across the country. Many migrant families moved back to villages,” Wadhwa said as per a report in The Indian Express.
Let's take it state-wise
There are wide variations when it comes to state-wise data. The rise is driven by big states in the north and all southern states, except for Telangana. In Uttar Pradesh, the government school enrollment rose by 13 percentage points and it was 12 percentage points in Kerala. In the southern states, barring Telangana, the rise in enrollment was pegged at about 8 percentage points.
When it comes to access to devices, the survey stated that smartphone penetration has doubled in rural India. It was 36.5 per cent in 2018, 61.8 per cent in 2020 and it's now at 67.6 per cent. When it comes to state-wise, Bihar and West Bengal showed below 60 per cent smartphone penetration while Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have near universal availability of devices in households.