Report shows steep drop in school enrollment in Bihar
By Ajay Kumar - PATNA
Published: 22nd Sep 2013 10:00:53 AM
The claim of a turnaround in Bihar, particularly in the field of education and health, the “Nitish Model” of development seems to have fallen flat. Bihar has witnessed 11.6%—the biggest decline in the school enrollment at the primary level in the country. Madhya Pradesh saw the lowest decline, just 3.9 per cent.
According to the most comprehensive school education report based on District Information of School Education data compiled by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), there has been a marginal fall in the primary school enrollment in the country from 13.7 crore in 2011-12 to 13.4 crore in 2012-13, and 4.8 per cent rise in upper primary enrollment from 6.19 crore to 6.49 crore during the same period.
“Some bigger states are unable to provide basic education and fundamental facilities to those who are studying in schools; thus leading to initial drop-outs,” the report said.
The fall in primary school enrollment could be attributed to mainly the recent cleaning up drive initiated by government to check enrollment in more than one school to get freebies like bicycle, school uniform, scholarship etc. The aggressive move to increase enrollment in the school finally turned into a huge scam where around one-third of the students enrolled in the schools were identified as ghost students.
In an operation register clean up, as many as 3,36,000 ghost students were identified from a total of 10,00,000 students from nine districts. An overall figure of the whole state may cross 2 million mark.
In the enrollment of Muslim students, Bihar had a marginal decline from 14.5 per cent in 2012-13 and from 14.7 per cent in 2011-12. At the national level, it increased from 12.79 per cent in 2011-12 to 13.52 per cent in 2012-13.
Most of the teaching in Bihar at the primary level is done by para teachers, numbering about 2.5 lakh, appointed by Panchayat functionaries. Their academic credentials have been questioned. The survey indicates only 48.9 percent students of class VIII could read a sentence in English.
“Most of these teachers are involved in non-teaching jobs and totally demotivated. Their colleagues who are permanent are getting more than triple their salary” said Uma Kant Singh, senior Congress leader and spokesperson.
The average attendance of a primary school teacher has declined from 85.7 percent in 2011 to 78.1% in 2012.