Children in rural areas are migrating from private to government schools, reveals Economic Survey 2021-22


Government schools will require additional support in terms of teachers, classroom and learning materials to absorb students migrating from private schools in rural areas due to financial distress caused by the Covid pandemic and shutdown of budget schools among other reasons, according to the Economic Survey 2021-22.

The survey, based on key findings of the Pratham Foundation-led Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) , acknowledges that long spells of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a stark digital divide have had a “significant impact” on the education sector affecting lakhs of schools and colleges across the country.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the education system affecting lakhs of schools and colleges across India. Since the data from the Ministry of Education is only available up to 2019-20, the impact of pandemic on enrolment and dropout rates during pandemic years, 2020 and 2021, could not be assessed through comprehensive official data. Thus, policy makers have taken into account alternate sources,” said the economic survey.

Quoting ASER data, the survey, tabled on Monday, said that children in rural areas have moved out of private to government schools cutting across age groups. And the possible reasons are likely to be shut down of low-cost private schools, financial distress of parents, families migrating back to villages.

“If the trend holds, public schools need to be equipped with additional support, in terms of teacher-pupil ratio, classroom space, and teaching/learning materials, to absorb students migrating from private schools and from urban to rural areas,” it added.

The ASER report, which was based on a phone survey in September-October 2021 of 75,234 children aged 5-16 across 581 rural districts, had underlined a “clear shift” from private to government schools: from 64.3 per cent in 2018 to 65.8 per cent in 2020 to 70.3 per cent in 2021, and a dip in private school enrollment from from 28.8 percent in 2020 to 24.4 per cent in 2021.



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