More Students Moved To Government Schools After Covid Crisis Hit
A larger percentage of young children remained unenrolled in schools and more students moved to government schools, in part due to financial distress, according to a survey.
The fallout of the Covid crisis, which left schools shut for physical classes for months and impacted the viability of many institutions, continues to be a concern for economies across the world, including India, the Annual Survey Of Education Report for 2021 showed. While the damage seen in 2020 stabilised this year, indicators are yet to improve.
The ASER report is compiled annually by Pratham, a non-governmental organisation, and covers 76,706 households and 7,299 schools across 25 states, three union territories and 581 districts.
Enrolment In Schools
The last round of the ASER survey conducted in 2020 had shown that the proportion of children in the age group of 6-14 years not currently enrolled in school went up from 2.5% to 4.6% between 2018 and 2020.
That proportion, however, remained steady at 4.6%, the latest survey showed.
Jump In Government School Enrolment
The latest round of the survey showed a sharp rise in government school enrolment accompanied by a fall in private schools. This was true across age groups and for boys and girls, the survey said.
"A decline in private school enrollment was first seen in 2020, from 32.5% in 2018 to 28.8% for 6- to 14-year-olds," said the report. Last year, the drop in private school enrolment was accompanied by more children staying out of school rather than shifting to government schools.
Between 2020 and 2021, private school enrolment continued to drop and a big jump was seen in students joining government schools across all age groups, it said.
Most teachers and headmasters of government schools cited financial distress as the reason for this shift. Besides, a number of more affordable private schools were forced to shut down during the crisis, likely prompting a shift toward state-run schools, the report said.
About 40% said that no studies were going on in private schools; 15% mentioned migration; 62% cited a shift from private schools because of financial distress; and about 50% ascribed it to the free facilities in government schools.Annual Survey Of Education Report
States which saw the sharpest shift toward government schools included Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Increase In Students Taking Tuition
The survey also threw up a steady increase in the number of students taking tuition.
39.2% of all students surveyed were taking tuition in 2021 compared with 32.5% in 2020 and 28.6% in 2018. The largest percentage point jump in students taking tuition was for those in standards one and two.
Access To Smartphones For Education
While the survey was conducted in September when schools had started to reopen, it sought to understand the availability of smartphones for education. Over the period of the Covid crisis, online classes had meant that access to smartphones became crucial to keep education going.
The survey found that while 67.6% of those surveyed reported access to smartphones for children's education, only 27% said the smartphone was accessible for this purpose at all times. 28% said they had to buy a new smartphone for education purposes.
Again, there were wide differences across states on access to smartphones for education.
Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Punjab had the highest percentage of smartphones available at home. Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha had the lowest.