Significant decline school numbers with pupil-teacher ratio higher than prescribed

Significant decline school numbers with pupil-teacher ratio higher than prescribed

The Government's economic survey has observed a significant decline in the number of schools where the  pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) is higher than the prescribed PTR of 30:1 for primary classes and 35:1 for upper primary classes.

It, however, noted that the PTR is still higher than those prescribed for elementary classes in several states including Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and West Bengal, suggesting the Government to ascertain the reasons behind it so that corrective measures could be taken.

The survey has noted that Bihar Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh have a  higher percentage of schools with PTR in elementary classes is higher than 30:1 when compared to other states.

As per statistics with the Government, the PTR at national level for primary schools was 23:1 in 2015-16.

The survey noted that the Unesco Institute of Statistics on PTR in primary schools shows that India has a national PTR comparable to countries with "similar socio-economic indicators."

"Despite improvement in number of schools complying with PTR norms, States like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh have higher percentage of schools with PTR higher than 30:1 compared to other States," the survey report, tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on Monday, noted.

At all India level, the  percentage of schools with Student Classroom Ratio (SCR) greater than 30 students have also declined from 43% in 2009-10 to 25.7% in 2015-16.

"Though the SCR improved in almost all of the states, there are variations in the improvement across states," the survey noted.

Some studies claim that school participation and grade attainment are positively influenced by Student Classroom Ratio (SCR) and the PTR, it added

The survey report said that the recruitment, service conditions and redeployment of teachers were primarily in the domain of respective state governments and union territory (UT) administrations.

"The Central Government has been consistently pursuing the matter for expeditious recruitment and redeployment of teachers with states and UTs at various fora," the report said.

Though the investment in human capital is a prerequisite for "a healthy and productive population for nation building," there is "not enough fiscal space" to increase the expenditure on critical social infrastructure like education and health in India being it a developing economy, the report underlined.

"However, given the limited resources, the Government has consistently prioritized strengthening the educational and health profile of the population. As India is poised to grow as one of the leading knowledge economies, education, skill development and health will remain priorities for the government," it added.

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