Enrollments in Indian Schools surge, but Performance drops!


Year 2010 has been a revolutionary one for the Indian education industry. The HRD ministry holds high ambitions for the industry to be taken at the global level to make it competitive and performance-oriented.

In the year that passed by, Kapil Sibal marked the reformist agenda by allowing the entry of Foreign Universities to set-up campuses on Indian shores to boost higher education for top B-school students. This was followed by serving the interest of primary education system by introducing international (IB) syllabus in CBSE-course.

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However, all these big-bang reforms are akin to laying no groundwork before building a tower of hope. At a time when a number of school plans in India are only on paper and questions being raised on quality of the teaching faculty here; the need of the hour is to enrol more rural children and impart them with basic skills of reading and writing.

Having said above, today almost 96.5% children go to school, according to the Annual Survey of Education Report 2010 encompassing students across 14,000 villages. Further, even the proportion of girls going to school in the age-group of 11-14 years has increased to 94.1%. However, do these statistical figures really matter when almost half the students in class III to V cannot even read a simple paragraph?

What if I say that most of the students can’t even solve basic mathematical problems? Take this, almost 85% of 5th Standard kids fared poorly in arithmetic skills and could not do division. Going beyond mathematics, only 53.4% of Class V students could read textbooks of Class II levels.

Amongst state-wise performance, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh were found laggards in terms of teacher-pupil ratio in its schools as laid down under Right to Education Act. However, Karnataka and Kerala were better off in this regards with over 85% of the rural schools surveyed complying with the norms.

In the annual survey organized by Pratham, an NGO which tracked learning outcomes, Maharashtra topped all other states with a whopping 99% of all children in the 6-14 age groups being enrolled in schools. But, having said above, still 58.6% students from Class V kids could not solve arithmetical division problems.

Most surprisingly, the poverty-stricken state of Bihar has logged substantial progressed when it comes to girl-child education. In fact, the Bihar (at 4.6%) has out-paced the national average of 5.9% in terms of number of girls, aged 11-14, that were out of school.

Is Indian education sector really progressing further with higher enrolment rates?

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