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96.5 % children go to school in India
A private audit of elementary education in India revealed that the number of children being enrolled in schools has increased by half a percentage over 2009. The quality of education imparted to these children however,remains to be matter of concern.

NEW DELHI: India took another step towards universal elementary education last year, with 96.5% of all children aged 6-14 years being enrolled in schools, an extensive private audit has revealed. NGO Pratham`s Annual Survey of Education Report says the proportion of girls in the age group of 11-14 years too increased to 94.1% although quality of education remained a big concern. 

The survey, the only private audit of elementary education in the country, found an increase of half a percentage point in enrolment over 2009. But it said there was an overall decline in students` ability to do basic mathematics and only 53.4% of children in Class V could read Class II level textbooks. 

Teacher attendance also showed consistent decline which could be one of reasons for a big increase in enrolment in private schools and tuitions. Bucking the trend was Punjab, where students showed an exceptional improvement in mathematical ability. 

Overall, Bihar emerged as a star performer with steady improvement in enrolment. Enrolment of boys in the state was 95.6% and that of girls 95.4%. In 2006, 12.3% of boys and 17.6% girls in Bihar were out of school. 

Among states continuing to return poor numbers in girl`s education, Rajasthan had 12.1% girls aged 11-14 years out of school and Uttar Pradesh 9.7%. In both states, there has been no change in the percentage of out-of-school girls. 

The survey conducted in all the districts of the country shows a large number of schools in the country fulfilling norms laid down in the Right to Education Act. 

At the same time, the report showed a big increase in enrolments in private schools — from 21.8% of all school-going children in 2009 to 24.3% last year. The trend has been holding since 2005. Southern states have more students going to private schools. In Andhra Pradesh, enrolment increased from 29.7% in 2009 to 36.1% while in Tamil Nadu it jumped from 19.7% to 25.1%. Kerala had 54.2% of children in private schools, up from 51.5% last year, and Karnataka 20% (16.8% in 2009). 

Among northern states, enrolment in private schools grew rapidly in Punjab — from 30.5% in 2009 to 38% in 2010. 

Mathematics proved to be a big bugbear for students across the country. The proportion of Class I students who could recognize numbers fell from 69.3% in 2009 to 65.8%. Barely 36.5% of Class III students could handle two-digit subtraction problems, as compared to 39% in 2009. The proportion of children in Class V who could do simple division dropped from 38% to 35.9%. 

Notably, Punjab bucked the trend. While 56.3% of students in Class II in the state could recognize numbers one to 100 in 2008, the figure jumped to 70.4% in 2010. Similarly, the proportion of Class IV children who could do subtraction went up from 66.9% in 2008 to 81.4%. 

In Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan, there was a perceptible rise in the proportion of children studying in Class I who could recognize letters. 

West Bengal led in private tuitions with the survey showing more than 75% of Class V students in government schools going to private tutors. In Bihar, the proportion was 55.5% and in Orissa, 49.9%. 

A positive feature of the report was the increasing number of five-year-olds in school. Nationally, it increased from 54.6% in 2009 to 62.8%. Karnataka emerged as an big achiever on this score with enrolment of five-year-olds jumping from 17.1% in 2009 to 67.6% in 2010. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Assam also showed healthy increases in enrolment.

 

 

Source: Times of India