Eco Survey lists factors plaguing education system

The Survey has also sought to bring the attention of the policymakers towards the need to consolidate or merge the elementary schools in the future, instead of establishing new once.

The Economic Survey has listed the shortage of teachers, principals and administrative staff, lack of regular supervision and inspection, inadequate training of the teachers and timely availability of finances as some of the factors plaguing the education system in the country.

While the Survey recommended that all the states and Union Territories (UTs) “must” focus upon “governance” to streamline the system, it also emphasised that the government policies should give “necessary focus” on investments in education for equitable and inclusive development in the country.

“The shortage of teachers is a perennial problem with 9.08 lakh vacancies of teachers at the elementary level in government schools as on March 31, 2016. This is despite the high number of pass-outs in DEd/BEd programmes and the number of surplus teachers in zero enrollment schools,” the Survey noted.

While the country's elementary schools need at least 4 lakh teachers, as many as 24,921 teachers are deployed in schools with zero enrollment.

The Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) at the national level for primary schools is 23:1, 17:1 for upper primary, 27:1 for secondary and 37:1 for senior secondary schools.

“While the PTR appears to be satisfactory, it is clear that while there are sufficient teachers, the main issue is their balanced deployment based on student strength,” the Survey underlined.

The Survey has also sought to bring the attention of the policymakers towards the need to consolidate or merge the elementary schools in the future, instead of establishing new once.

It noted that while India's working-age population will grow by roughly 97 lakh per year during 2021-31 and 42 lakh per year in 2031-41, the proportion of elementary school-going children in the age group of 5-14 years will witness “significant” declines.

“Contrary to popular perception, many states need to pay greater attention to consolidating/merging schools to make them viable rather than building new ones,” the Economic Survey underlined.

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