51 thousand government schools closed in India in 2018-19, but why?

In the year 2018-19, 51 thousand government schools across India have closed, while the number of private schools has increased by about 3.6 per cent, 11 thousand 739 new private schools were opened.

Government schools closed in India

According to the United District Information System for Education (UDISE) Plus report of the Department of Education, the number of government schools declined from 1,083,678 to 1,032,570 in the year 2019-20.  

However, during this period the number of private schools has increased. The number of private schools across the country has increased from 325,760 to 337,499. That is, the number of private schools has increased by about 3.6 per cent.

The UDISE Plus report for 2020-21 released last week showed a further drop in the number of government schools. The number of government schools fell from 1,032,570 to 1,032,049. That is, 521 government schools have been reduced again. However, the reason for this is believed to be the Covid.

According to the UDISE Plus report for 2020-21 released last week, 521 government schools have also been closed due to COVID-19.

The number of government schools in Uttar Pradesh saw a decline to 26,074 schools. The number of schools was 163,142 in September 2018 which decreased to 137,068 in September 2020. While Madhya Pradesh saw a decline in the number of schools to 22,904. The number of schools was 122,056 in September 2018 which decreased to 99,152 in September 2020.

However, some states saw a slight increase in the number of government schools. In Bengal, the number increased from 82,876 to 83,379, while in Bihar it increased from 72,590 to 75,555. The UDISE Plus report did not explain the reasons for the decline in the number of government schools.

most primary schools are closed

The Telegraph India quoted education experts as saying that most of the schools to be closed are primary schools. Education activists said that recruitment of permanent teachers of central and state governments, and failure in election duty affect the quality of education, due to which parents want to send their children to private schools.

Ashok Agarwal, president of the All India Parents-Teachers Association and a member of the Delhi University Court, says, “Most teachers also teach their children in private schools. However, most schools encourage rote learning and don’t care what the outcome of such education will be.”

This reflects the trend of privatization of education at the grassroots level as well. He said that the government is very happy to see the poor quality of its schools, which is prompting parents to send their children to private schools.

Due to low enrollment, these schools were given an excuse to merge with nearby schools and close them.

In 2016, a group of government secretaries recommended merging schools with low enrollment into nearby schools. NITI Aayog supported this proposal in the following year 2017.

Students and teachers in schools:

  • The total number of students enrolled in school education from primary to higher secondary was 25.38 crore in 2020-21. There has been an increase of 28.32 lakh enrollment as compared to 25.10 crore enrollment in 2019-20.
  • The Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER), which measures the general level of participation, improved in 2020-21 at all levels of school education as compared to 2019-20. Level wise GERs in 2020-21 as compared to 2019-20 are: 89.7% to 92.2% in upper primary, 97.8% to 99.1% in primary, 77.9% to 79.8% in secondary and 51.4% to 53.8% in higher secondary respectively.
  • 96.96 lakh teachers are engaged in school education during 2020-21. This is about 8800 more than the number of teachers in school education in 2019-20.
  • The Student-Teacher Ratio (PTR) in 2020-21 was 26 for primary, 19 for upper primary, 18 for secondary and 26 for higher secondary, showing improvement from 2018-19. The PTRs for primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary were 28, 20, 21 and 30 respectively during 2018-19.
  • More than 12.2 crore girls have been enrolled from primary to higher secondary in 2020-21, which is an increase of 11.8 lakh girls as compared to girls’ enrollment in 2019-20.

non-teaching staff

The number of non-teaching workforces has also improved over the years. The total non-teaching staff during 2020-21 was 15.8 lakh as compared to 12.37 lakh in 2018-19. The number of accountants, library assistants, laboratory assistants, head clerks, LDC/UDC employees among non-teaching staff has increased from 5.79 lakh to 7.8 lakh by adding 2.05 lakh from 2018-19 to 2020-21. (Government schools closed in India)

School infrastructure

Schools with functional electricity have made impressive progress during 2020-21, with 57,799 schools providing electricity. Now 84% of the total schools have functional electricity as compared to 73.85 per cent in 2018-19, which shows a significant improvement of 10.15% during this period.

  • The percentage of schools with functional drinking water has increased from 93.7% in 2019-20 to 95.2% in 2020-21.
  • The percentage of schools having functional girl’s toilet facilities has increased to 93.91% in 2020-21 as compared to 93.2% in 2019-20 by adding the facility to an additional 11,933 schools during the year.
  • The percentage of schools having handwashing facilities has also improved during 2020-21 and is now 91.9% as compared to 90.2% in 2019-20.
  • The number of schools with functional computers increased from 5.5 lakh in 2019-20 to 6 lakh in 2020-21, showing a growth of 3%. Now, 40% of schools have functional computers.
  • The number of schools with internet facilities increased to 3.7 lakh in 2020-21, which increased by 2.6% from 3.36 lakh in 2019-20.

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