Enrolment for primary education on the decline

Economic Survey figures show alarming signs

Enrolment for primary education on the decline

 The number of children enrolling for lower primary education in the State has seen a decline between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

At the high school level, a drastic fall in enrolment was noticed in 2012-13 after a steady rise in previous years.

Comparative figures in the recently released Economic Survey shows the number of enrolment in classes 1 to 5 was 55.42 lakh in 2008-09.

However, the figure came down to 53.78 lakh in 2012-13. This decline in enrolment was equal among both boys and girls with the number of the former falling from 28.60 lakh to 27.90 lakh during the period whereas of the latter it fell from 26.82 lakh to 25.88 lakh. The survey states that a ‘decline in the growth rate of population and the consequent decline in school going age group’ was the reason for the decrease.

According to Niranjan Aradhya V P, professor at National Law School of India University (NLSIU) and school education expert, one needs to only join the dots between the growing number of children who are out of school and the decline in enrolment.

“The recently released survey of out-of-school children for ages 6 to 14 puts the figure at 1.70 lakh. We can see a pattern in the decline of enrolment with a steady increase in the number of children who are out of school. An empirical research on the issue and a serious intervention is needed as to why we are not able to retain children in schools to know why enrolments are declining,” he said. “The decline is a matter of great concern, especially in light of the RTE Act being implemented in the past few years,” he added. 

Growth in high school

So far as high school (class 9 to 10) was concerned, the enrolment has grown steadily from 25.22 lakh in 2008-09 to 26.07 lakh in 2011-12. This, however, sharply fell to 16.67 lakh in 2012-13. 

The situation was just the opposite at the higher primary level (classes 6 to 8) where enrolments markedly increased over the five years. For example, between 2008-09 and 2011-12, the number of enrolments marginally increased from 20.28 lakh to 20.75 lakh. In 2012-13, however, this enrolment jumped to 30.17 lakh.

“A transition phase between lower to higher primary classes and then to high school usually witnesses a number of children who drop out. Based on our researches, we have stated the need for school education to be treated as an organic structure and as one compartment,” said Aradhya.

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