Bhopal: The enrolment in classes one to eight in government schools has dropped to almost 40% in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Madhya Pradesh in the last decade.
From 105 lakh students enrolled in classes one to eight in government schools in 2010-11, the number dropped to 64.34 lakh in 2020-21, minister for school education Inder Singh Parmar informed the Assembly in a written reply to a question asked by Gwalior South Congress MLA Praveen Pathak.
Pathak further asked that when the state’s population has increased by 18% in the last decade, why has the enrolment dropped, and what measures the government is taking to increase the admission rate?
Parmar replied that the drop in enrolment is the result of free admission of 25% of students of economically weaker sections in private schools under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the decline in child population and data purification due to Samagra Samajik Suraksha Mission ID (SSMID) registration. The state government has taken several measures to ensure the admission of students in the 6-14 age group, he added.
The data provided by the state government indicates that the pandemic didn’t affect enrolment in schools. In 2018, more than 67 lakh students were enrolled in these classes with the number dropping to 65 lakh in 2019 and further to 64 lakh in 2020. Gwalior district alone has reported a drop of 88,724 students by 2021-22 as against 2010-11 whereas Sidhi and Singrauli have reported a decline of 96, 232 and 85,175 students respectively.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s report ‘No teacher, no class: state of the education report for India, 2021’, released on October 5, out of 1,54,064 schools, 84% are in rural areas and 21,077 (14%) of government schools in Madhya Pradesh have a single teacher and 22% have vacancies higher than the national average. About 7.7% pre-primary, 4.6% primary and 3.3% of upper-primary schools have underqualified teachers.
According to Parmar’s reply, from 16.14 lakh children who got admission in class one in 2010-11, the number declined to 6.96 lakh in 2020-21. Similarly, admission in class two declined from 15.46 lakh to 8.05 lakh, 14.54 lakh to 7.85 lakh in class three, 13.97 lakh to 8.62 lakh in class four, 13.15 lakh to 8.31 lakh in class five, 11.68 lakh to 7.81 lakh in class sixth, 11.01 lakh to 8.35 lakh in class seven and 9.35 lakh to 8.39 lakh in class eight during this period.
(With PTI inputs)