Monday, June 13, 2022

The NATIONAL FAMILY HEALTH SURVEY (NFHS-5): 2019-21

 

Brief Analysis by Prof. Arun C Mehta

NATIONAL FAMILY HEALTH SURVEY (NFHS-5) 2019-21 INDIA MARCH 2022: International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF, 2021. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 2019-21: India. Mumbai: IIPS.

Different educational variables have found a place in NFHS in its different rounds. The educational level of the household population, school attendance, literacy status of the population, years of schooling, etc. are a few such variables. The following variables have got relevance to the education has however found placed in the latest NFHS-5: 2019-21 which was conducted in two phases reports of which are now available. The information is available both at the state and all-India levels and also separately in the rural and urban areas.

  • Percentage of Female population aged-6 years & above who ever attended school
  • Percentage of Children aged-5 years who attended pre-primary school (during the school year 2019-20)
  • Percentage of women who are literate
  • Percentage of Men who are literate
  • Percentage of Women with 10 or more years of schooling
  • Percentage of Men with 10 or more years of schooling

Of the above variables, the percentage of children aged-5 years who attended pre-primary school (during the school year 2019-20) is significant given NEP 2020 which recommended extension of school education to the pre-primary age group i.e. 3 to 5 years.

  • First NFHS: 1992-93
  • Second NFHS: 1998-99
  • Third NFHS: 2005-06
  • Fourth NFHS: 2015-16 &
  • Fifth NFHS: 2019-21

The recent all-India Report of NFHS-5: 2019-21 was released in March 2022, and the following variables having got relevance to education has found a place in the report which is presented both at the all-India and State levels. All the States and UTs of India have been divided into North, Central,  East, Northeast, West, and Southern regions and analysis is presented both at the All India and Region-specific. The same has also been presented separately for the rural as well as for the urban areas. Fact Sheets of India and States & UTs as well as District Fact Sheets and State Reports can be downloaded from the official website of NFHS which is being managed by the IIPS, Mumbai.

  • Educational Attainment
  • Pre-school Attendance
  • School Attendance
    • Gross Attendance Ratio
    • Net Attendance Ratio
  • Gender parity Index

In particular, the following tables present information on educational variables:

  • Table 2.22 Preschool attendance: Age 2 to 4years
  • Table 2.23 Preschool attendance by state/union territory
  • Table 2.24 Educational attainment of household population
  • Table 2.25 Educational attainment of household population by state/union territory
  • Table 2.26 School attendance by state/union territory
  • Table 2.27 School attendance ratios
  • Table 2.28 Reasons for children currently not attending school

Brief Analysis

The educational data covered in the NFHS-5 indicate that only 39.9 percent of males and 40.3 percent females of aged 2 to 4 years were attending pre-schools of which only 69 percent were found to have attended during the period 2019-21. Not much variation is observed between the rural (38.3 percent) and Urban (43.9 percent) areas as almost the same percentage were found to be attending pre-schooling during the same period. However, more girls of this age (71.3 percent) were found attending than their counterparts boys (66.6 percent). Further, it has been observed that the percentage of children 2 to 4 years was a bit higher in the rural areas (71.3 percent) compared to 65.6 percent in the urban areas. The same information for the children aged-5 years attending pre-schools was earlier separately released by the NFHS-5.

The NFHS-5 also disseminated 6-17 years population attending schools which reveals that 87.4 percent of the population of this age group were attending schools during 2019-20; however, the percentage was observed to be higher in the urban areas (90.4 percent) than the same in the rural areas (86.1 percent). Not much difference is observed between males (88.2 percent) and females (86.5 percent) attending school.

he Net Attendance Ratio in primary schools was reported to be 83 percent in the rural areas as compared to 83.87 percent in the urban areas and GPI is reported to be as high as 0.99; thus meaning that both boys and girls were found almost equally attending primary schools which is quite similar to NER reported from the administrative surveys. The Net Attendance Ratio in primary schools is reported to be 83.87 percent in the urban and 83 percent in the rural areas with a GPI of 0.99; thus indicating that both boys and girls were equally attending primary schools. Compared to primary schools, only 76 and 79.6 percent population of 6-17 years were found to be attending (NAR) middle/secondary and higher secondary schools respectively in the urban and rural areas thus indicating that a good percentage is still far out of this level of education.

Like the previous NFHS, NFHS-5: 2019-21 also collected information on the 6-17 years population not attending schools and reasons for not attending. Despite many flagships programs launched by the Government of India, still about 21.4 percent of 6-17 years not attending school because they are reported not interested in studies as compared to 3.9 percent because of the repetitive failures, 6.8 percent got married (males, 0.3 percent & females, 6.8 percent), 20.6 percent required to work outside for cash earning, 13.3 because of household work, 6.2 percent because of the school located far away, etc. all which indicate that school education in the Country despite mega programs is still facing challenges which are similar to the same in the 1990s when the country launched one of the mega programs of primary education, namely DPEP and subsequently Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RMSA and now Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan program. We might have opened a good number of schools under different programs but 6.2 percent of 6-17 years just not attending because schools are located far from their household is a great cause of concern. Is it because of the merging and closing of schools initiated recently in the Country? What about RTE norms to ensure that schools are made available in the neighbourhood? Disheartening to observe that 6.2 percent of the total 6-17 years population do not attend schools as they feel that schools are located far away from their household which is also a question mark about the implementation of the Right to Education Act enacted long back in 2009 specifying that no students are detained in elementary classes and all relevant age group children are provided a school within the neighbourhood.

Download Full PDF, Analysis of NFHS-5 by Arun C Mehta

Friday, June 10, 2022

National Achievement Survey (NAS 21): Results Released (25th May 2022)

In response to demand of researchers, Ministry of Education recently announced that it will soon conduct second National Achievement Survey (NAS) which shall cover both the Private as well as Government schools which is a step in the right direction. Education For All in India wholeheartedly welcomed the statement which would be conducted by the  National Council of Educational Research and Training. The last such survey was conducted  on 13th November 2017 for classes III, V and VIII and for Class X in 2018. 

The Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education has released the report on National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021, held on 12.11.2021. Approx. 34 lakh students from government, government-aided and private schools participated in this survey. The report is available on: http://nas.gov.in

National, state and district report cards are made available for Class 3, 5, 8 and 10 in language, Social Science, science and mathematics which is not an easy task to analyse.

  • Report cards reveals that many states has lower average marks in 2021 than in 2017, true for all the subjects.
  • 1,18,274 schools, 5,26,824 teachers and 34,01,158 students participated in NAS 21 across grades 3, 5,8 and 10.
  • NAS was conducted on 12 November 2021 across the Country.
  • Out of scaled scores of 500, class 3 has an average score of 323 in language, 306 in mathematics and 307 in EVS
  • Out of scaled scores of 500, class 3 has an average score of 323 in language, 306 in mathematics and 307 in EVS
  • Out of scaled scores of 500, class 8 has an average score of 302 in language, 255 in mathematics, 250 in science and 255 in social science.
  • Out of scaled scores of 500, class 10 has an average score of 260 in MIL, 220 in mathematics, 206 in science, 231 in social science and 277 in English.
  • Many states have lower average scores than the overall average scores
  • 38 percent students faced difficulty in learning at home during COVID, 78 percent it was burdensome, lot of assignments.
  • 24 percent sample students didn’t have digital device at home, 80 percent found learning better in school with peers help.
  • Average achievement score in Class 3 in mathematics is 306. In Bihar, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, UP, UKD, the same is significantly below that of the overall achievement score.
  • Average achievement score in Class 5 in mathematics is 284. In Bihar, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, UP, UKD etc, the same is significantly below that of the overall achievement score. Against which, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, MP, Punjab, Rajasthan, WB etc have significantly above the overall achievement score.
  • Average achievement score in Class 8 in mathematics is 255. In Andhra, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, UP, UKD, the same is significantly below than the overall achievement score. Against which, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, MP, Punjab, Rajasthan etc have significantly above the overall achievement score.
  • Average achievement score in Class 8 in mathematics is 255. In Andhra, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, UP, UKD, the same is significantly below than the overall achievement score. Against which, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, MP, Punjab, Rajasthan etc have scores significantly above the overall achievement score.
More about NAS...

Friday, February 04, 2022

Education Sector in the Union Budget 2022-23, Analysis by Arun C Mehta

 

Based on the information made available in the Union Budget 2022, an effort has been made to have a look at the budget, actual and revised estimates in case of the allocation made to the Ministry of Education. Needless to mention that the ministry has two departments namely the Department of School Education & Literacy and the Department of Higher Education all the activities of the ministry fall under these two departments. However, the focus of the present note is more on the School Education Department which plays a pivotal role in ensuring that it sends an adequate number of secondary graduates to the higher education without which the goal of 50 per cent GER as envisaged in NEP 2020 is not likely to be realized by 2030. Without improving the efficiency of the school education, the higher education sector is not expected to receive an adequate number of secondary graduates because of which the school education department must receive adequate funds to initiate activities as adopted in the NEP 2020.

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Monday, January 31, 2022

My Views of NITI Aayog: Health Index 2019-20

 

Prof. Arun C Mehta
Formerly Professor & Head
Department of EMIS
NIEPA, New Delhi 

Background

Ever since the Planning Commission is renamed as The National Institutions for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog it used to compute and disseminate a variety of state-specific indices which includes one each for Education, Health, Water, and Sustainable Development (SDG) Goals. On the one hand, the education index, namely School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is the latest available for the year 2016-17; on the other hand, the SDG index is available for 2020-21. The recently launched (December 2021), Healthy States, Progressive India: Health Round IV is the latest available for 2019-20. The available indices help know the status of a state-viz-a-viz other states concerning SDG, health, and education but the indices are of little use to use as an input to ongoing annual plan formulation exercises. For example, the SEQI (also performance Grading Index for 2019-20) is the latest available for the year 2016-17, the same is not possible to use while formulating annual plans the process of 2022-23 under Samagra Shiksha is being initiated soon. Most of the indicators used in Health Index: 2019-20 are of the year 2018-19 or even 2015-16 in case of few indicators. NITI Aayog must also intervene to ensure that the data required in computing an index in a year must be available for the same year for which an index is being computed. The time lag in school education data has recently been widened as the same is latest available for the year 2019-20 (as of January 2021).

While observations on School Education Quality Index (SEQI), Performance Grading Index (PGI), and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are separately been documented, in this note we focus more on the Health Round IV Index: 2019-20. The Health Index of the first three rounds is available for years, 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 respectively. In addition, SDG3: Health Index has also been looked into.

Continue Reading ....
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Tables



Thursday, January 27, 2022

 Is Decline in School Enrolment in India a Cause of Concern?

                                                                                                      ……Yes, it is

By
Arun C Mehta
Formerly Professor & Head of EMIS Department
NIEPA, New Delhi
Email: acmehta100@gmail.com 

Introduction

Because of the limitations in the educational statistics, at the time of initiating the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) in 1994-95, the Ministry of Education/HRDGovernment of India decided to develop a computerized educational management information system with the school as the unit of data collection and district as the unit of data dissemination and the task to develop such as system was assigned to NIEPA, New Delhi which joined hands with the UNICEF and contributed all through the period 1994-95 to 2017-18. It was only the year  2018-19 onwards that the renamed UDISE+ is being managed by the NIC and located in the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education but the first of its publication was released on 1st July 2021 by the then Minister of Education under the title, UDISE+ 2019-20 Report even failed to mention the national institutions which brought the earlier defunct school education statistics managed by the none other than the Ministry of Education to this level which practically has overcome most of the limitations in Educational Statistics in India.

At the time, when UDISE was managed by the NIEPA, New Delhi the time-lag in the educational statistics was brought to less than a year at the national level and the Annual Work Plan & Budget under the age-sis of Sarva/Samagra  Shiksha Abhiyan was being formulated on currents years data both of which have now been forfeited. Other achievements of NIEPA towards strengthening EMIS are also fading and fast becoming history. The year 2021-22 annual plans have recently been formulated based on the outdated 2019-20 data unfortunately which is also the latest data. At the time of writing this note, the process of data collection for 2020-21 is in progress and the moot question is in which year’s annual plan, data of 2020-21 will be used. Annual plan exercises are now based on stale data, the allegation which was made on UDISE to gain its control from the national institutions which were also alleged not having expertise. UDISE at NIEPA used to bring out a set of 15 publications in a year all of which has now been discontinued along with the updating of the numerous award-winning internationally acclaimed websites including the schoolreportcards.in.

The Present Article

While how much we gain: A Case of UDISE+ and Is India moving towards privatization of school education: analysis of coverage under UDISE+ 2019-20 has separately been documented, in this note, we confine to analyze the progress of school enrolment in Grades I to XII over time in general and primary enrolment in Grades I to V and other levels of school education in particular and analyze whether the decline in school enrolment in India is a cause of concern especially when all government-sponsored programmes and RTE 2009 are working towards universal school enrolment? Wherever essential, the same is separately been analyzed under the government as well as private management. Needless to mention that the main source of educational statistics in India, namely UDISE, for different years has been extensively used in analyzing the growth which has taken place in school education in India. Data has been obtained from the official websites and is available in the public domain.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

 

A Detailed Analysis of Decline in Number of Schools Covered under
UDISE+ 2019-20
Are we moving towards privatisation of School Education?

 By
Arun C Mehta
Formerly Professor & Head of EMIS Department
NIEPA, New Delhi
Email Id: acmehta100@gmail.com

Background

Because of the limitations in the educational statistics, at the time of initiating the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) in 1994-95, the Ministry of Education, Government of India decided to develop a computerized educational management information system with the school as the unit of data collection and district as the unit of data dissemination and the task to develop such as system was assigned to NIEPA, New Delhi which joined hands with the UNICEF and contributed all through the period 1994-95 to 2017-18. It was only the year  2018-19 onwards that the renamed UDISE+ is being managed by the NIC and located in the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education but the first of its publication was released on 1st July 2021 by the then Minister of Education under the title, UDISE+ 2019-20 Report even failed to mention the national institutions which brought the earlier defunct school education statistics managed by the none other than the Ministry of Education to this level which practically has overcome most of the limitations in Educational Statistics in India. 

 At the time, when UDISE was managed by the NIEPA, New Delhi the time-lag in the educational statistics was brought to less than a year at the national level and the Annual Work Plan & Budget under the age-sis of Sarva/Samagra  Shiksha Abhiyan was being formulated on currents years data both of which have now been forfeited badly. Other achievements of NIEPA towards strengthening EMIS are also fading and fast becoming history. The year 2021-22 annual plans have recently been formulated based on the outdated 2019-20 data unfortunately which is also the latest data. At the time of writing this note, the process of data collection for 2020-21 is in progress and the moot question is in which year’s annual plan, data of 2020-21 will be used. Annual plan exercises are now based on stale data, the allegation which was made on UDISE to gain its control from the national institutions which were also alleged not having expertise. UDISE at NIEPA used to bring out a set of 15 publications in a year all of which has now been discontinued along with the updating of the numerous award-winning internationally acclaimed websites including the schoolreportcards.in.

 The Present Article

 While How much we gain: A Case of UDISE+ is separately been documented, in this note, we confine to coverage of UDISE+ in terms of the number of schools covered during the period 2017-18 to 2019-20. The analysis is presented both at the all-India and wherever required, state level and also in the rural and urban areas. Data has been obtained from the official websites and is available in the public domain.

 Coverage: Total Number of Schools

 The total number of schools covered under UDISE during the period 2017-18 to 2019-20 presented in Table 1 reveals that the same has significantly and consistently declined from an all-time high of 15,58,903 schools in 2017-18 to a low 15,07,708 schools covered during 2019-20 data collection which shows that the latest data is based on a more than 51 thousand less number of schools than in the year 2017-18. In the percentage terms, the number of schools covered in 2019-20 was fewer by more than 3 per cent of schools covered in 2017-18. It may be recalled that 2018-19 was the first year from which UDISE is being managed by the NIC & Department of School Education & Literacy during which about 8 thousand fewer schools were covered than in the previous year i.e 2017-18. The latest 2019-20 UDISE data could cover only 15,07,708 schools which is fewer than 43,292 schools than the same covered in 2018-19; in percentage terms 2019-20 it was 2.8 per cent of the schools covered during the previous year. Under coverage of schools in recent years may be due to different reasons. Further, we also undertake analysis of schools by school category, management, and its rural and urban distribution all of which reveal interesting information about coverage. Before that, we undertake an analysis of the state-wise number of schools covered under UDISE during the same period: 2017-18 to 2019-20 which is presented in Table 2.

 Is it because of the decline in the number of schools by 43,292 in 2019-20, the Report of the UDISE+ 2019-20 published recently (July 2021) even didn’t mention it and nowhere in the document, like enrolment & teachers present the comparison of the same with the previous year’s figures i.e. 2018-19? It is expected that the managers of UDISE+ i.e. the Department of School Education & Literacy will furnish the explanation of the significant decline in the number of schools covered under UDISE+ ever since it has assumed the responsibility of the same. Rather, it has shed its responsibility by mentioning The Ministry of Education, therefore, assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the data and indicators reported in the document” under the disclaimer.

Table 1: Number of Schools (All Schools)

Year

Total Number

of Schools

Increase/Decrease

%age Change

2017-18

15,58,903

-

-

2018-19

15,51,000

- 7,903

- 0.5

2019-20

15,07,708

- 43,292

- 2.8

2017-18 to 2019-20

 

- 51,195

- 3.3

Source: UDISE & UDISE+, different years. From 1994-95 to 2017-18, DISE/UDISE was maintained by NIEPA, New Delhi, and thereafter by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education, Government of India.

 Table 2: State-wise Number of Schools: 2017-18 to 2019-20

State/UT

2017-18

2018-19

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

2019-20

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Change Over

2017-18 to 2019-20

%age

Change

A & N Islands

417

414

-3

-0.7

418

4

1.0

1

0.2

Andhra Pradesh

63633

63621

-12

0.0

63824

203

0.3

191

0.3

Arunachal Pradesh

4061

3793

-268

-6.6

3666

-127

-3.3

-395

-9.7

Assam

70078

66324

-3754

-5.4

65907

-417

-0.6

-4171

-6.0

Bihar

88233

89224

991

1.1

90275

1051

1.2

2042

2.3

Chandigarh

225

229

4

1.8

229

0

0.0

4

1.8

Chhattisgarh

56184

56274

90

0.2

56303

29

0.1

119

0.2

D & N  Haveli

346

346

0

0.0

346

0

0.0

0

0.0

Daman & Diu

143

140

-3

-2.1

137

-3

-2.1

-6

-4.2

Delhi

5723

5703

-20

-0.3

5669

-34

-0.6

-54

-0.9

Goa

1525

1486

-39

-2.6

1482

-4

-0.3

-43

-2.8

Gujarat

54141

54581

440

0.8

54629

48

0.1

488

0.9

Haryana

23235

23534

299

1.3

23699

165

0.7

464

2.0

Himachal Pradesh

18295

18212

-83

-0.5

18185

-27

-0.1

-110

-0.6

Jammu & Kashmir*

29335

29708

373

1.3

29917

209

0.7

582

2.0

Jharkhand

49530

45908

-3622

-7.3

45596

-312

-0.7

-3934

-7.9

Karnataka

77076

78233

1157

1.5

77166

-1067

-1.4

90

0.1

Kerala

17013

16701

-312

-1.8

16665

-36

-0.2

-348

-2.0

Lakshadweep

45

45

0

0.0

45

0

0.0

0

0.0

Madhya Pradesh

153593

154064

471

0.3

133379

-20685

-13.4

-20214

-13.2

Maharashtra

110315

109942

-373

-0.3

110229

287

0.3

-86

-0.1

Manipur

4812

4844

32

0.7

4663

-181

-3.7

-149

-3.1

Meghalaya

14736

14669

-67

-0.5

14730

61

0.4

-6

0.0

Mizoram

3919

3913

-6

-0.2

3924

11

0.3

5

0.1

Nagaland

2839

2752

-87

-3.1

2758

6

0.2

-81

-2.9

Orissa

69209

68717

-492

-0.7

67020

-1697

-2.5

-2189

-3.2

Puducherry

733

739

6

0.8

741

2

0.3

8

1.1

Punjab

28926

28637

-289

-1.0

28775

138

0.5

-151

-0.5

Rajasthan

105514

105883

369

0.3

106240

357

0.3

726

0.7

Sikkim

1300

1290

-10

-0.8

1277

-13

-1.0

-23

-1.8

Tamil Nadu

58474

59152

678

1.2

58897

-255

-0.4

423

0.7

Telangana

42834

42355

-479

-1.1

42575

220

0.5

-259

-0.6

Tripura

4928

4945

17

0.3

4940

-5

-0.1

12

0.2

Uttar Pradesh

275286

273235

-2051

-0.7

254352

-18883

-6.9

-20934

-7.6

Uttarakhand

24273

23559

-714

-2.9

23295

-264

-1.1

-978

-4.0

West Bengal

97974

97828

-146

-0.1

95755

-2073

-2.1

-2219

-2.3

Total

1558903

1551000

-7903

-0.5

1507708

-43292

-2.8

-51195

-3.3

*Including Ladakh

Source: UDISE, different years.

 State-wise Number of Schools

 A glance at the state-wise number of schools covered UDISE + 2019-20 reveals that as many as 18 states reported a decline in the total number of schools over the previous year as against 21 states which have shown a decline during the period 2017-18 & 2018-19. In about 12 states, the per cent decline was more than a percentage point during the same period. The highest 13.4 per cent decline is observed in Madhya Pradesh which in the absolute number is as high as 20,685 schools which is considered huge. Madhya Pradesh is followed by Uttar Pradesh in terms of percentage (6.9 per cent) but in the absolute number, the decline in the number of schools covered in 2019-20 was as high as 18,883 schools. Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep are the only three states which have shown no decline in the number of schools covered in 2019-20 all of which are in small size and has only a few schools compared to other states. In another three states, namely Karnataka (1,067 schools, -1.4 per cent), Odisha (1,697 schools, -2.5 per cent), and West Bengal (2,073 schools, -2.1 per cent) the decline in the number of schools was in the tune of four digits.

 The number of schools during the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 further reveals that in as many as 22 states, thenumber of schools in 2019-20 is observed to be declined from its 2017-18 level and the number of such schools at the all-India level, as reported above is in the tune of 51,195 schools which is 3.3 per cent of total schools covered in 2017-18. In the case of five states, namely Assam (4,171 schools, - 6.0 per cent), Jharkhand (3,834 schools, -7.9 per cent),  Madhya Pradesh (20,214 schools, -13.2 per cent), Odisha (2,189 schools, -3.2 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (20,934 schools, -7.6 per cent) and West Bengal (2,219 schools, -2.3 per cent), the number of schools in 2019-20 is fewer by more than two thousand schools which range between 2,189 schools in Odisha to  20,934 schools to Uttar Pradesh. Why has the number of schools covered under UDISE+ declined ever since the same was taken over by the Department of School & Literacy or is it because of the merger of schools to make the school composite one? Is the decline limited to private unaided schools or whether the government and aided schools have also been declined answers of all of which are explored in the following paragraphs? On the one hand, the number of schools is declined in the majority of states which is confined to both small as well as major states, on the other hand, a few states, such as D & N Haveli and Lakshadweep didn't see any decline all through the period 2017-18 to 2019-20. Bihar (2,042 schools, 2.3 per cent), Gujarat (488 schools, 0.9 per cent), Haryana (464 schools, 0.2 schools), Jammu & Kashmir (582 schools, 0.2 per cent), Rajasthan (726 schools, 0.7 per cent), and Tamil Nadu (423 schools, 0.7 per cent) all see a slight increase in coverage of school during the same period. The moot question is whether the merger of schools didn’t take place in these states. Within these states, barring Tamil Nadu all remaining five states, including Bihar have shown a consistent increase in the number of schools covered during the same period.

 Rural & Urban Distribution of Schools

 The rural and urban distribution of schools covered under UDISE during the period 2017-18 to 2019-20 presented in Table 3 reveals that more than 84 out of 100 schools are located in the rural areas (83.5 per cent), urban areas (16.5 per cent) have only 16 out of 100 such schools.  Further, it has been observed that the coverage in terms of schools in the rural areas has consistently declined from a high of 13,11,976 schools in 2017-18 to 13,04,715 schools in 2018-19 and further to 12,58,347 schools in the latest year i.e. 2019-20; thus showing a decline to the tune of 7,261 (-0.6 per cent), 46,368 (-3.6 per cent) and 53,629 schools (-4.1 per cent) respectively during the period 2017-18 to 2018-19, 2018-19 to 2019-20 and 2017-18 to 2019-20. During the same period, the number of schools covered in the urban areas has increased from 2,46,927 schools in 2017-18 to 2,49,361 schools in 2019-20. Further, it is observed that of the total decline of 43,292 schools in 2019-20, practically every school declined is located in the rural areas (46,368 schools, - 4.1 per cent) as against an increase of 3,076 schools +1.2 per cent) in the urban areas.  Both the rural and urban areas together show a decline of 51,195 schools in 2019-20 which is -3.3 per cent of total schools covered in 2017-18. Huge coverage of fewer schools than in the past year must have some valid reason but the UDISE+ 2019-20 Report failed to present details of the same less even mentioning the significant decline in the number of schools covered.

Table 3: Rural & Urban Distribution of Schools, 2017-18 to 2019-20

Year

Rural

%age

Urban

%age

All Areas

2017-18

1311976

84.2

246927

15.8

1558903

2018-19

1304715

84.1

246285

15.9

1551000

2019-20

1258347

83.5

249361

16.5

1507708

Increase/Decrease 2018-19

-7261

-642

-7903

%age Increase

-0.6

-0.3

-0.5

Increase/Decrease 2019-20

-46368

3076

-43292

%age Increase

-3.6

1.2

-2.8

Increase/Decrease 2017-18 to 2019-20

-53629

2434

-51195

%age Increase

-4.1

1.0

-3.3

             Source: UDISE, different years.

 Rural & Urban Distribution of Schools by School Category

 The rural & urban distribution of schools by type of school category reveals that the number of schools covered in 2019-20 is observed to be fewer in the case of five categories in the rural areas compared to the same in four categories in the urban areas. It may be recalled that there are ten types of school categories which are been maintained ever since the year 2012-13 during which the entire country got covered under the DISE for the first time and data was collected by using one Data Capture Format. DISE since then is known as Unified-DISE or popularly as UDISE.

 The ten school categories consisting of corresponding grades are Grades I to V, I to VIII, I to XII, VI to VIII, VI to XII, I to X, VI to X, IX to X, IX to XII, and XI to XII. Both in the rural and the urban areas, the decline in the number of schools is observed in I to V, VI to VIII, IX to X, and IX to XII in addition to which the number of high schools consisting of Grades VI to X has also declined in the rural areas. In addition, the number of schools with Grades VI to X has also shown a decline in the rural areas against which the urban areas have shown a slight increase of 242 schools during the same period. Further, it may be recalled that the rural areas have shown a huge decline in the number of schools (46,368 schools, -3.6 per cent) but in the reality, the actual number of schools declined is much higher than it as there was an increase in a few school categories which is in the tune of 41,481 schools. In reality, the actual number of decline in schools in the rural areas is in the tune of 88,191 schools majority of which is confined to primary (Grades I to V) only schools (45,804 schools, -6.1 per cent) followed by upper primary (38, 751 schools, -29.3 per cent), secondary (2,117 schools, -7.7 per cent) and higher secondary (1,276 schools, -7.2 per cent) schools. During the same period, overall the coverage of schools in the urban areas has increased by 3,076 schools which is 1.2 per cent of the total schools in the previous year. However, in the urban areas, the total decline is to the tune of 5,886 schools in 2019-20 0ver the previous year. The brief analysis reveals that the decline in both the rural and urban areas is confined only to a few school categories amongst which primary and upper primary schools are the most prominent ones. On the other hand, elementary (Grades I to VIII) and higher secondary (I to XII) schools are the main categories both in the rural as well as urban areas which have shown an increase in the number of the schools in 2019-20. Is it because of the merger of the primary and upper primary schools into the elementary schools but the number doesn’t exactly match which indicates that a few schools might have closed down?

 

 

 Table 4: Percentage Change in Number of Schools between 2018-19 & 2019-20 & its Rural & Urban Distribution

 

 

School

Category

Rural

Urban

All Areas

 

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

 

PS (I-V)

-45804

-6.1

-2336

-2.9

-48140

-5.8

 

UPS (I-VIII)

36709

15.8

4716

6.9

41425

13.8

 

HSS (I-XII)

1904

5.5

1533

7.2

3437

6.1

 

UPS (VI-VIII)

-38751

-29.3

-2423

-23.0

-41174

-28.8

 

HSS (VI-XII)

1058

4.0

497

6.1

1555

4.5

 

SS (I-X)

1810

4.2

1852

7.3

3662

5.4

 

SS (VI-X)

-243

-0.6

242

2.4

-1

0.0

 

SS (IX-X)

-2117

-7.7

-659

-9.4

-2776

-8.1

 

HSS (IX-XII)

-1276

-7.2

-438

-7.3

-1714

-7.2

 

HSS (XI-XII)

342

4.5

92

1.2

434

2.8

 

Total

-46368

-3.6

3076

1.2

-43292

-2.8

Source: UDISE+, different years.

Further, the state-wise change in the number of schools in the case of the selected categories presented in the Table 5 reveals that the coverage of the primary schools (I to V) declined by a huge 61,858 schools which is 7.4 per cent of the same in the previous year i.e. 2018-19. Except, in the case of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep, all the remaining States & UTs, the UDISE+ 2019-20 data is based on fewer primary schools than in  2018-19 and

 

  Table 5: Percentage Change in Number of Schools between 2018-19 & 2019-20

All States, Selected Categories

States/UTs

Primary Schools

(I to V)

Elementary Schools

(I to VIII)

Upper Primary

Schools

(VI to VIII)

All Schools

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

A & N Islands

4

1.8

-4

-5.1

0

0.0

4

1.0

Andhra Pradesh

-1742

-4.2

1254

15.6

-148

-96.7

203

0.3

Arunachal Pradesh

-349

-15.4

208

20.5

-12

-18.2

-127

-3.3

Assam

-559

-1.2

109

2.7

-162

-2.1

-417

-0.6

Bihar

-1152

-2.6

1022

2.8

-23

-8.1

1051

1.2

Chandigarh

0

0.0

0

0.0

0

 

0

0.0

Chhattisgarh

-307

-0.9

196

6.8

-62

-0.5

29

0.1

D & N Haveli

-2

-1.2

2

1.5

0

0.0

0

0.0

Daman & Diu

-1

-2.0

0

0.0

-2

-5.3

-3

-2.1

Delhi

-44

-1.6

-5

-0.6

0

0.0

-34

-0.6

Goa

-9

-1.0

4

8.2

-7

-50.0

-4

-0.3

Gujarat

-133

-1.1

-76

-0.3

-34

-4.0

48

0.1

Haryana

-189

-1.9

62

2.0

-53

-2.2

165

0.7

Himachal Pradesh

-121

-1.1

34

4.4

-38

-1.9

-27

-0.1

Jammu & Kashmir

-102

-0.7

98

1.0

-36

-21.3

209

0.7

Jharkhand

-652

-2.6

87

0.5

-54

-46.2

-312

-0.7

Karnataka

-1423

-5.4

11

0.0

-496

-50.5

-1067

-1.4

Kerla

-1021

-12.6

794

24.4

-1467

-69.3

-36

-0.2

Lakshadweep

0

0.0

-1

-6.7

1

0

0.0

Madhya Pradesh

-20284

-22.9

16556

91.0

-17170

-57.2

-20685

-13.4

Maharashtra

-1243

-2.3

308

1.0

-56

-30.6

287

0.3

Manipur

-390

-13.8

102

11.3

-20

-32.3

-181

-3.7

Meghalaya

-10

-0.1

38

19.5

-18

-0.5

61

0.4

Mizoram

-54

-3.5

50

12.6

-14

-1.3

11

0.3

Nagaland

-92

-7.2

77

11.0

-10

-28.6

6

0.2

Orissa

-1981

-5.6

357

1.9

-378

-12.6

-1697

-2.5

Puducherry

-9

-3.1

1

1.3

0

0.0

2

0.3

Punjab

-166

-1.2

91

3.7

-25

-0.9

138

0.5

Rajasthan

-1511

-3.7

986

2.8

-33

-13.3

357

0.3

Sikkim

-37

-5.0

9

3.0

-1

-100.0

-13

-1.0

Tamilnadu

-465

-1.3

-70

-0.7

-22

-18.5

-255

-0.4

Telangana

-1194

-5.4

678

10.0

-131

-100.0

220

0.5

Tripura

-29

-1.1

1

0.1

0

0.0

-5

-0.1

Uttar Pradesh

-24394

-15.0

27389

168.1

-23767

-37.2

-18883

-6.9

Uttarakhand

-431

-3.0

203

9.7

-111

-3.4

-264

-1.1

West Bengal

-1766

-2.3

-151

-9.2

-213

-2.8

-2073

-2.1

Total

-61858

-7.4

50420

17.3

-44562

-30.5

-43292

-2.8

Source: UDISE+, different years. Note: Apart from these three categories, there are seven more school categories. For reasons not known the total number of schools presented above in case of a few categories don't match well with the same at the all-India level presented above.

 the size of the decline in coverage is in the tune of 61,858 schools (-7.4 per cent). It may be recalled that both Madhya Pradesh (20,685 schools, -13.4 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (18,863 schools, -6.9 per cent) experienced a huge decline in the total number of schools  (all categories) in 2019-20 which is more than 91 per cent of the total decline in the number of schools which otherwise means that 9 out of every 10 schools declined is in these two states.  

 Further, it has been observed that like primary schools, upper primary schools consisting of Grades VI to VIII have also shown a steep decline in the number of schools covered in 2019-20 UDISE+ data collection which is fewer by 44,562 schools or 30.5 per cent of such schools in 2018-19. It is generally believed that a decline in the coverage of schools in 2019-20 is because of the merger of schools to make them composite schools but the same is not reflected in the corresponding elementary schools consisting of Grades I to VIII in which primary and upper primary schools are supposed to have been merged. Except in a few states, the decline in the number of schools does not suggest that it is only because of the merger of the schools as the increase in the number of elementary schools doesn’t match well with the corresponding decline in primary and upper primary schools. As against a total decline of 61,858 primary schools (-7.4 per cent) and 44,562 upper primary schools (-30.5 per cent) schools, coverage of elementary schools increased only by 50,420 schools (17.3 per cent).  It may also be possible that schools having VI to VIII grades don't necessarily be merged into the elementary schools; a few of them might have merged into the high school located on the same campus or located in the nearby areas. Madhya Pradesh which has experienced the highest decline in the number of schools has merged schools that are located on the same campus and has also converted a few schools into composite schools. At least the UDISE+ 2019-20 report should have discussed the actual reasons behind the decline in schools along with the state-specific reasons in the absence of which the decline may be simply be treated as UDISE+2019-20 is based on fewer schools than in the previous year.

 Schools by Management

 Table 6 presents the number of schools covered under UDISE 2017-18 to 2019-20 by management along with the increase/decrease in a year and percentage change over the previous year. Both the schools managed by the government as well as private management including unaided and unrecognized schools have been presented. The decline in the number of schools further shows that the decline is mostly confined to schools being managed by the government managements amongst which schools managed by the Department of Education is the most prominent one. It may be observed that the number of schools managed by the Department of Education increased by 18,450 (2.3 per cent) in 2018-19 over the previous year i.e. 2017-18 against which the same has shown a steep decline during the next year i.e. 2019-20 and the decline is in the tune of 50,382 schools (6.0 per cent) which is 6 per cent less than the number of schools covered in UDISE+ 2018-19.  The steep decline in the number of schools managed by the Department of education is a serious cause of concern and needs explanation about the actual reason behind the decline.  

 Scrutiny of  number of schools by management further reveals that the number of schools under the Local Body management in 2018-19 was declined by 29,250 schools which is 13 per cent of the total such school in the previous year i.e. 2017-18. The same has further declined by 490 schools in 2019-20. On the one hand, schools managed by the Department of Education has shown a steep decline in 2019-20 on the other hand decline in school under the Local Body management is a serious cause of concern. On the other hand, it has been observed a significant increase in the number of private unaided schools and the increase is to the tune of 11,271 schools (3.5 per cent) alone in 2019-20 in addition to which the same was increased by 4,027 schools (1.2 per cent) in 2018-19.

 Table 6: Change in Number of Schools in 2019-20 over 2018-19, All India

School

Management

2017-18

2018-19

Increase/

Decrease

%age Change

2019-20

Increase/

Decrease

%age Decline

Department of Education

817038

835488

18450

2.3

785106

-50382

-6.0

Tribal Welfare Department

45077

45409

332

0.7

46279

870

1.9

Local Body

225780

196530

-29250

-13.0

196040

-490

-0.2

Government Aided

84420

84623

203

0.2

84362

-261

-0.3

Private Unaided (Recognized)

322201

326228

4027

1.2

337499

11271

3.5

Other Govt. managed Schools

2750

1322

-1428

-51.9

939

-383

-29.0

Unrecognized

32916

32366

-550

-1.7

29600

-2766

-8.5

Social Welfare Department

1626

2413

787

48.4

1717

-696

-28.8

Ministry of Labor

195

356

161

82.6

353

-3

-0.8

Kendriya Vidyalaya / Central School

1435

1566

131

9.1

1259

-307

-19.6

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya

486

505

19

3.9

626

121

24.0

Sainik School

71

64

-7

-9.9

67

3

4.7

Railway School

74

80

6

8.1

85

5

6.3

Central Tibetan School

11

14

3

27.3

16

2

14.3

Madarsa Recognized

(By Wakf Board/Madarsa Board)

19354

19150

-204

-1.1

19538

388

2.0

Madarsa Unrecognized

5469

4886

-583

-10.7

4139

-747

-15.3

Other Central Government Schools

 

0

 

83

83

-

Total

1558903

1551000

-7903

-0.5

1507708

-43292

2.8

Source: UDISE, different years.

 In addition to schools managed by the government and private managements, UIDSE also covers unrecognized schools and madarsa both of which have also declined recently. Overall, as reported above UDISE+ 2019-20 is based on 43,292 schools fewer than the same in 2018-19 which is 2.8 per cent of the total schools covered in the previous year. Is the decline in schools under the Department of Education is across the board to examine the same we have also analyzed the number of schools under this management by school category? Before that number of schools by type of schools is presented in Table 7.

 Number of Schools by Type

 The number of schools by type presented in Table 7 reveals that the decline is confined to only five out of the ten categories. Boys, co-educational, and girls are the three types of schools for which distribution of schools is available under UDISE. Further, it has been observed that most of the decline is confined to either primary or upper primary or higher secondary schools but affected the co-educational institutions the most. Table 7 further reveals that of the total number of schools declined during 2019-20 (43,292 schools), 89.70  per cent (38,832 schools) alone are co-educational schools and the remaining 4.54 per cent (1,966 schools) are boys and 5.76 per cent (2,494 schools) girls schools. The number of schools declined to any school category may not add up to the total number of schools declined (42,292 schools) because a few of the remaining school categories; like elementary schools have shown an increase in the number of schools covered during the same period. Users may get confused the way UDISE-plus has given names of the school categories, for example, schools having Grades I to VIII and VI to VIII both are termed as upper primary schools. Needless to mention that schools having Grades I to VIII are traditionally termed elementary schools in India.

 Table 7: Percentage Change in Number of Schools between 2018-19 & 2019-20 by Type of Schools

 

Type of

School

Boys

Co-Educational

Girls

Total Schools

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

PS (I-V)

-1383

-23.8

-45050

-5.5

-1707

-24.2

-48140

-5.8

UPS (I-VIII)

58

2.5

41138

13.9

229

7.1

41425

13.8

HSS (I-XII)

75

14.2

3197

5.9

165

10.8

3437

6.1

UPS (VI-VIII)

-722

-38.4

-39305

-29.1

-1147

-19.4

-41174

-28.8

HSS (VI-XII)

58

3.0

1198

4.1

299

7.7

1555

4.5

SS (I-X)

72

8.2

3567

5.4

23

1.4

3662

5.4

SS (VI-X)

-18

-2.2

193

0.4

-176

-4.5

-1

0.0

SS (IX-X)

-8

-3.3

-2732

-8.3

-36

-2.9

-2776

-8.1

HSS (IX-XII)

-121

-17.5

-1387

-6.6

-206

-9.9

-1714

-7.2

HSS (XI-XII)

23

17.6

349

2.4

62

6.4

434

2.8

Total

-1966

-12.9

-38832

-2.6

-2494

-7.9

-43292

-2.8

Source: UDISE, different years.

Of the total decline of 48,140 primary schools, 45,050 schools (93.58 per cent) alone are co-educational as against 1,383 (2.87  per cent) boys schools and the remaining 1,707 (3.55  per cent), girls schools. Quite a similar pattern is also observed in the case of upper primary schools which is declined by 41,174 schools of which 95.46 per cent (39,305 schools) alone are co-educational schools. Further, it has been observed that both in terms of absolute and percentage terms, the number of girls schools declined is a bit lower than boys schools. As many as 3,272 fewer girls' schools were covered under UDISE 2019-20 compared to 778 more girls schools were added but confined to only four categories. In addition to primary and upper primary schools, a good number of secondary schools consisting of Grades IX & X (2732 schools) and higher secondary schools (Grades  IX to XII, 1387 schools) have also declined all of which are co-educational; these schools are 8.3 and 6.6 per cent of the total decline in co-educational schools.

 As mentioned above, we now analyze the decline in the number of schools in the case of primary, upper primary, etc schools under the Department of Education and Private managements.

 Table 8: Number of Schools declined by Category under DoE & Private Unaided Management, 2018-19 & 2019-20

School

Category

 

Department of Education

Private Unaided

2019

2018

Change

over 2018

%age

Change

2019

2018

Change

over 2018

%age Change

PS (I-V)

474781

523383

-48602

-9.29

89517

98023

-8506

-8.68

UPS (I-VIII)

151482

114112

37370

32.75

107315

95263

12052

12.65

HSS (I-XII)

15713

12674

3039

23.98

35174

29501

5673

19.23

UPS (VI-VIII)

66024

108196

-42172

-38.98

16673

17257

-584

-3.38

HSS (VI-XII)

21281

19463

1818

9.34

6879

6212

667

10.74

SS (I-X)

16244

17128

-884

-5.16

43495

40600

2895

7.13

SS (VI-X)

16335

17089

-754

-4.41

11295

13404

-2109

-15.73

SS (IX-X)

11986

11580

406

3.51

9083

8568

515

6.01

HSS (IX-XII)

8942

9448

-506

-5.36

7624

7724

-100

-1.29

HSS (XI-XII)

2318

2415

-97

-4.02

10444

9676

768

7.94

Total

785106

835488

-50382

-6.03

337499

326228

11271

3.45

DoE: Department of Education

Source: UDISE+ different years.

 The Number of Schools by Category: DoE & Private Unaided Managements

 As has already been presented above the decline in the number of schools covered in UDISE-plus 2019-20 over the previous year is mainly confined to the Department of Education. Contrary to which, on the other hand, schools managed by the private unaided managements during the same period has shown significant increase because of which it has become essential to know more about school categories those who have decreased or increased.  As has already been reported that the total number of schools covered under the Department of Education was declined by 50,382 schools as compared to an increase of 11,271 schools under the private unaided managements. The number of schools declined under the Department of Education is confined to six out of ten school categories and in the rest, two out of four categories, the decline in the number of schools is steep which is to the tune of 48,602 schools in case of primary and 42,172 schools in the case of upper primary-only schools. But for the increase in the number of schools in a few school categories, the actual number of the total number of schools declined under the Department of Education is about 93,015 schools. Similarly, the actual number of schools increased under the private unaided management is many more than 11,271 schools;  which is 22,570 schools. Scrutiny of the number of schools under private unaided management further reveals that the number of primary schools is declined by 8,506 (8.68 per cent) and on the other hand, elementary education has seen a steep increase which is to the tune of 12,052 schools (12.65 per cent). It may be recalled that the coverage of the number of private unaided schools under UDISE has increased significantly over a period which in the latest 2019-20 data is 337.5 thousand schools which otherwise means that for every 2.33 schools managed by the Department of Education, there is at least one private unaided school in India, the ratio in the previous year was 2.56. During the first year of the unification of SEMIS and DISE, a mere 256.3 thousand private unaided schools were covered in 2012-13. Is India moving towards the privatization of school education? the available data suggest that slowly but surely we are moving in that direction which is also reflected in the per cent share of enrolment in privately managed schools to total enrolment at school education in India. 

 Further, it has been observed that not only the primary and upper primary schools are declined but UDISE 2019-20 data also suggest that the same in case of schools having secondary and higher secondary grades have also shown a decline; however, the percentage of such schools in case of schools run by the Department of Education is a bit lower than the decline in case of other types of schools mentioned above. On the other hand, the coverage of private unaided schools during the same period has shown a mixed picture. On the one hand, primary (8.68 per cent), upper primary (3.38 per cent), secondary (15,73 per cent) and higher secondary (1.29 per cent) schools have shown a decline, on the other hand, the schools in the remaining categories, such as higher secondary (19.23 per cent), secondary (6.01 per cent) and senior secondary (7.94 per cent) have shown an impressive increase over the previous year. 

 The above analysis of the number of schools covered in UDISE 2019-20 indicates that of the total 42,292 schools declined the most of the schools have declined alone in the states of Madhya Pradesh (20,685 schools) and Uttar Pradesh (18,883 schools) which amount to 93.56 per cent of the total schools declined. Further, the analysis also indicates that the majority of schools that declined were confined to the Department of Education. On the other hand, schools managed by the private unaided managements have increased by more than 11 thousand during the same period. Given this, we have separately analyzed the decline/change in the number of schools in these two states under the Department of Education and Private Unaided managements details of which are presented in Tables 9 &10.

 Uttar Pradesh

 Table 9 indicates that a total of 18,883 schools (15.65 per cent) in 2019-20 were fewer than in 2018-19 in Uttar Pradesh, the actual number of such schools is much higher than this as the number of schools under a few categories has increased which is to the tune of more than 30 thousand schools which otherwise reflect that the actual number of schools declined by 49,130 alone in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The distribution of schools in Uttar Pradesh under the Department of Education in 2019-20 reveals that barring schools having Grades I to VIII and VI to XII, all other categories have fewer schools than in the previous year i.e. 2018-19.  On the other hand, barring schools having Grades IX to X, IX to XII, and XI to XII, all other categories have shown an increase over the previous year in case of private unaided management and the number of increase in case of a few school categories is quite impressive. Of the total 6,317 private unaided schools added in 2019-20, 3,635 (28.43 per cent) alone were the elementary schools compared to which 1,058 primary schools (2.72 per cent) were added during the same period.

Table 9: Schools by Department of Education & Private Unaided Management: Uttar Pradesh

 

School

Management

Number of Schools Covered

Change over 2018-19

%age Change

Department

of Education

Private

Unaided

All Schools

Department

of Education

Private

Unaided

All Schools

PS (I-V)

-25297

1058

-24394

-22.34

2.72

-15.01

UPS (I-VIII)

23634

3635

27389

23872.73

28.43

168.07

HSS (I-XII)

0

948

1074

0.00

41.34

30.26

UPS (VI-VIII)

-23707

44

-23767

-51.15

0.30

-37.17

HSS (VI-XII)

89

811

1064

18.20

17.77

12.37

SS (I-X)

-3

280

443

-33.33

20.97

15.92

SS (VI-X)

-25

336

277

-51.02

9.59

6.83

SS (IX-X)

-16

-536

-599

-1.11

-13.48

-10.81

HSS (IX-XII)

-13

-251

-358

-8.55

-4.64

-6.01

HSS (XI-XII)

-1

-8

-12

-50.00

-26.67

-32.43

Total

-25339

6317

-18883

-15.65

7.22

-6.91

Source: UDISE+ different years.

 Uttar Pradesh data further reveals a decline of 25,297 primary schools and 23,707 middle/upper primary schools in 2019-20 compared to which an increase to the tune of 23,634 elementary schools has been observed which maybe because of the merging of primary and upper primary schools into it but the UDISE+ 2019-20 report is silent on it. Nor from the state sources, the real reason behind the steep decline in the number of schools covered under UDISE+ 2019-20 can be known. If the decline is due to the merging of schools, equally important is to know criteria based on which schools have been merged or a few of them are even closed down.

 Madhya Pradesh

 Quite a similar picture like Uttar Pradesh emerges when we analyze coverage of schools under UDISE+ in 2019-20 in the state of Madhya Pradesh under the Department of Education which has also witnessed a huge decline in the number of schools which is to the tune of 22,334 schools (-25 per cent) against which the number of private unaided schools has increased by 6.92 per cent (2,019 schools). The bifurcation of schools under the Department of Education in Madhya Pradesh further shows that the majority of schools that are declined are the primary only schools 18,553 schools, -31.28 per cent) which is followed by upper primary schools   (17,072 schools, -29.27 per cent). Maybe because of primary and upper primary schools, the elementary schools increased by more than 13 thousand during the same period.  Not only did the primary and upper primary schools are declined but a few schools under secondary (Grades IX & X, 1,871 schools) and higher secondary (Grades IX to XII, 1,688 schools) categories under the Department of Education have also shown a decline during the same period.

Table 10: Schools by Department of Education & Private Unaided Management: Madhya Pradesh

 

School

Management

Change over 2018-19

%age Change

Department

of Education

Private

Unaided

All Schools

Department

of Education

Private

Unaided

All Schools

PS (I-V)

-18553

-1263

-20284

-31.28

-28.31

-22.92

UPS (I-VIII)

13300

3101

16556

 

18.25

90.97

HSS (I-XII)

1065

153

1217

 

3.86

29.51

UPS (VI-VIII)

-17072

-24

-17170

-74.38

-29.27

-57.16

HSS (VI-XII)

680

-1

709

 

-0.96

308.26

SS (I-X)

1522

154

1677

 

5.16

55.68

SS (VI-X)

283

-13

301

69.19

-28.26

57.44

SS (IX-X)

-1871

-50

-1981

-54.71

-27.62

-41.59

HSS (IX-XII)

-1688

-35

-1705

-51.91

-9.83

-36.54

HSS (XI-XII)

0

-3

-5

0.00

-23.08

-31.25

Total

-22334

2019

-20685

-25.00

6.92

-13.43

  Concluding Observations

 The above analysis reveals that there is a decline in the number of schools covered under UDISE in the recent past and most of the schools declined under the government management in general and the Department of Education in particular. On the other hand, the coverage of private unaided schools is on the rise the percentage share of which is increased from a mere 22 per cent in 2015-16 to 35 per cent in 2019-20 which is also reflected in the corresponding enrolment at the all levels of schools education in India all which reflect that slowly but surely India is moving towards privatisation of school education? Is this a cause of concern or a policy shift from the government to privatisation of school education? Or our parents have become conscious and are convinced that their wards can get quality education only in the private schools? These are the moot questions answers of which must come from the government. The percentage of government schools have come down from 76.4 per cent in 2011-12 to 67 per cent in 2018-19 and further to 65.1 per cent in 2019-20. Is the decline due to low coverage of government schools under UDISE+ or because of merging and de-merging of government schools. Coverage of unaided private schools under UDISE+, as reported above have increased by more than 11 thousand schools as compared to a decline by more than 42 thousand schools in the case of government schools in 2019-20. Certainly UDISE+ managers i.e. the Department of School Education & Literacy must come out with the details of the drastic decline in the number of schools covered under government management in the recent years or most specifically the year i.e. 2018-19 from which it has taken the charge of the UDISE+.

 Elementary education in India is a constitutional commitment and a fundamental right of every child of age between 6 to 14 years, are we still working in that direction? It may be recalled that several centrally sponsored schemes were launched over time to achieve the goal of universal school education in India. Over a while, the focus of these programmes was shifted from strengthening infrastructure to improving retention and further to the quality of education. Both under the District Primary Education Programme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, a large number of government schools were opened based on the criteria that each of the habitations of the country must be made available a primary school within a distance of 1 km and an upper primary school within a distance of 3 km from the habitation; are these norms still relevant after SATH-E? Are these being followed anymore or have become irrelevant? Even within the newly opened schools a student-teacher ratio of 25: 1 was being maintained in case of primary and 35:1 in case of upper primary level. Hundreds of thousands of schools with even less than 25 students, were provided teacher(s) as per the criteria laid down. Still, at one point in time, there was a shortage of over a million teachers which were never met fully to meet the challenges of the unfinished task of universal schools education in India. Maybe because of these reasons the process of merging and de-merging in the name of Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital-Education (SATH-E) was initiated in January 2018 by the NITI Aayog and is termed as rationalisation and consolidation of elementary and secondary schools. Initially, Odisha,  Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh were the three states selected by NITI Aayog under SATH-E which has come to end in March 2020.  These states were selected aiming to become the role model states in school education. The aim was to merge small schools having enrolment up to 20 with the nearby (not necessarily within a distance of 1/3 km) located school equipped with the better number of teachers, infrastructure, TLM, libraries and other facilities which are essential for smooth functioning of a school. These small schools were termed as surplus schools with more than one school in the neighbourhood by the Ministry in 2017 and it was ensured that citizen voices will be respected and merging will not force children to drop out but the new school may not necessarily be located in the neighbourhood as specified under the RTE 2009 Act. At the school level, it was envisaged that MIS will help School Manager, in fact, the Head Master/Principal of the school in determining the aims of the school, formulating strategic plans, distributing resources, and evaluating staff performance as well as organizational success partially which is currently being looked after under the ongoing Shaala Siddhi programme that too funded by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education and continuing even after SATH-E was launched in 2018. Needless to mention that the data collected through the seven domains of  Shaala Siddhi is supposed to take care of most of these aspects? Strategic plans under SATH-E is termed School Improvement Plans under the Shaala Siddhi programme presently being managed by NIEPA. Data up to 2020-21 indicates that in as many as 3,43,028 schools either the self-evaluation under Shaala Siddhi is completed or in progress. Are the other areas mentioned in SATH-E not supposed to be taken care of by the ongoing Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan? Are these should not be covered under the annual work plan formulation under Samagra Shiksha?  And why the merging and closing of schools are being guided and monitored from the top? Are a few questions answers of which is not available in the public domain.

 Even years before the SATH-E, the process of merging was initiated and a good number of schools were merged in the states of Odisha, Rajasthan, etc which was protested by the activists, teachers, and parents. The Report Card of  RTE: 2010 to 2020 by RTE Forum indicated that as many as 1,47,494 schools were either closed down or merged till 2017. Does it mean that schools under the DPEP and later SSA were opened in haste without using scientific techniques such as School Mapping advocated by the apex international institutions of education planning i.e. IIEP, Paris and NIEPA, New Delhi? Have we opened new schools where they were not required or viable or in the process had we had denied the right of many locations that deserved to have been provided with a new school or up-gradation of an existing school? Or the academic inputs about the location to open a new school were denied for non-academic reasons? We had shown hurry in the opening of schools in the past and now again we are in a hurry to merge or demerge or close down schools to ensure at least a good school in each location. At the time the Country was opening new schools the need for GIS Mapping was felt because of which School GIS covering all the states was developed. Is school GIS being used under SATH-E to close down or merge schools?

 Table 11: Share of Government & Private Managements: Schools & Enrolment

2018-19 & 2019-20

 

 

Management

Schools

Enrolment

2018-19

2019-20

2018-19

2019-20

%age

%age

Number

%age

%age

Number

Government

67.0%

65.1

981146

49.0%

48.6%

121927212

Private Unaided

21.0%

22.4

337499

34.0%

35.4%

88913012

Government Aided

5.0%

5.6

84362

11.0%

10.8%

27014238

Other Government

Managements

3.0%

3.4

51424

2.5%

2.5%

6215384

Madrasa

2.0%

1.6

23677

1.0%

1.3%

3183258

Unrecognized

2.0%

2.0

29600

2.0%

1.5%

3718579

Total

15,51,000

100.0

15,07,708

24,43,38,584

100.0%

25,09,71,683

Source: UDISE+ 2018-19 & 2019-20

  The merger of schools has been advocated by the NITI Aayog to consolidate resources including teachers. The project was supposed to be monitored by both the state, as well as a central level for which Central Project Monitoring Unit and National Steering Group were created at the national level. At the state level, State Project Monitoring Unit was supposed to have been created. The national-level monitoring teams are being assisted by international agencies, such as The Boston Consultancy Group (BSG). Ironically another international agency, The World Bank played a pivotal role in formulating policy to open new schools under DPEP and now another international agency is helping India through NITI Aayog to merge, de-merge or even close down schools. Primal Foundation for Education Leadership was another private agency engaged in developing the roadmap for SATH-E along with BCG to kick start the data-driven analysis to promote academic monitoring of school education across the country. As it looks from the available resources that the process of merging and close down of schools initiated through three states will spread to the remaining states of the country. Do not know whether the national level institutions, like NIEPA was ever consulted or a part of formulating conceptual note of SATH-E? NIEPA used to be a great advocate of the use of the school mapping technique to decide to open a new school or up-gradation of an existing school. Both under the DPEP and SSA, states claim to have applied school mapping in deciding the location of a new school? It would be of interest to know whether school mapping is being carried out under SATH-E in deciding which school is to be merged/closed down and to merge to which school. In response to the request of the state, SATH-E 2.0, was commenced by NITI Aayog for another two years, from October 2020 in the initial three states. However, as it seems from the media coverage that all are not happy with the merging and demerging of schools as there are allegations that the process has adversely been affected by the efforts being made under RTE 2009? Hopefully, The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is closely monitoring the process of merging and closing down of schools and will ensure that it will not violate the Constitutional provisions and concept of the neighbourhood as specified in The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE 2009), and will not affect children adversely and citizens right in the affairs of education at the local level shall be protected.

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