Patna,(BiharTimes): After the first six years of tall claims now the time has come for reality check. The agencies which, hitherto were busy applauding the Bihar government for all sorts of success in various fields are now coming up with shocking facts. Incidentally, the report come close on the heels of one of the biggest scams to hit the state where millions of fake admissions have been made in schools to take advantage of the government schemes.
Though the state government, till a week back, had been claiming record enrolment of children in schools the latest report, released on January 16 revealed that children’s attendance in Bihar is the lowest in the country and nearly 60 per cent elementary school children in the State go to private tutors.
Attendance of children dropped by nine percentage points during the past four years. In the BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh, it dropped from 67 per cent to 54.5 per cent in four years. In Mayawati’s Uttar Pradesh, the decline in attendance was about seven per cent.
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011 surveyed 633,465 children in 16,000 schools in 558 districts.
The report said that though nationally, private school enrolment has risen over the years for 6-14 years age group from 18.7 per cent in 2006 to 25.6 in 2011, in Bihar it has actually decreased.
But this figure has obviously been compiled before the unearthing of scam. Now media reports, quoting official sources suggest, that as high as one-third children enrolled in government schools do not exist at all. They are all ghost-enrollment made by parents in league with officials to take bicycles, uniforms, scholarship, mid-day meal etc.
The report said that less than a third of Class III students in rural schools can solve simple two-digit subtraction problems. It has also shown an alarming decline in Mathematics skills, with the number of Class III students able to solve such
subtraction problems falling from 36.6 per cent in 2010 to 29.9 per cent in 2011.
Among Class V children, it said the ability to do a
similar subtraction problem has dropped from 70.9 per cent in 2010 to61 per cent in 2011.
Only Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and North-Eastern States have shown improvement from last year.
Basic reading levels also showed a decline in many States across north India, with the number of children in Class V able to read Class II
level dropped from 53.7 per cent in 2010 to 48.2 per cent in 2011. Interesting, according to the report, such decline was not visible in southern States.
ASER report said that though primary school enrolment in rural areas stood at 96.7 per cent, attendance has shown a worrying decline from 73.4 per cent in 2007 to 70.9 per cent in 2011.
All this decline has been reported in the country in spite of the fact that education was made a Fundamental Right in April 2010 and the Centre took several serious initiatives in this direction. Various states government, including Bihar too enacted laws in accordance with the RTE Act.
Even though there has been a marginal improvement in the proportion of schools complying with pupil-teacher ratio, from 38.9 per cent in 2010 to 40.7 per cent, parents still prefer to send their children to private schools, the report has found.
The report has said that a majority of the 97 per cent of rural children going to school were enrolled in a privately-owned institution.
According to report there has been an increase of over 10 percentage points in private school enrolment in the past five years in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya.
Between 30 and 50 per cent of children in the rural areas of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are enrolled in private schools.