Karnataka sees higher enrolment in govt schools

The survey aims to capture the transition in the education system in the country as the Covid-19 pandemic shows signs of receding.

Published: 18th November 2021 03:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2021 03:19 AM   |  A+A-

School children, school bag

Representational Image. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Enrolment of children at government schools in Karnataka has leaped from 68.6 per cent to 77.7 per cent over the last one year, according to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey, released on Wednesday. However, the number of children taking private tuition has also increased in the state. 

The survey aims to capture the transition in the education system in the country as the Covid-19 pandemic shows signs of receding. According to the survey, conducted in 890 villages across 30 districts in Karnataka, 77.7 per cent of children (76.8 per cent boys and 78.6 per cent girls) enrolled in government schools in 2021, up from 68.6 per cent in 2020 and 69.4 per cent in 2018.

As many as 76,606 households in 17,814 villages across the country were covered in the survey, of which 4,841 households were in Karnataka.  Educationists in the state said there has been a dramatic rise of almost 8.3 per cent, which is a relief. On the other hand, the enrolment in private schools in the country has dipped for the first time in recent years, from 28.8 per cent in 2020 to 24.4 per cent in 2021.

“There could be many reasons behind the rise in enrolment in government schools. Families have suffered economic distress during the pandemic and cost of living is going up. During the pandemic, many affordable private schools shut too. Teachers have shifted professions after private schools shut down. The government is also starting English medium schools. Many migrant families moved back to villages too,” Prof B R Gopal, retired principal, Teachers College, told The New Indian Express. 

Interestingly, D Shashikumar, general secretary of the Associated Management of English Medium Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) said this pattern is reversing and many children who went to government schools during the pandemic are coming back to private schools. 

“Yes, many students shifted. Financial issues of many parents, the government allowing enrolment without Transfer Certificate (TC) and migration were some reasons. But the scenario has changed now. In the last one month, there is a reversal — from government schools, they are going back, either to their old school or other schools,” he said.

In Karnataka, students depending on tuitions has risen to 20.5 per cent from 8.4 per cent. Interestingly, in the 2020 survey, the number had come down from 10.7 per cent in 2018 to 8.4 per cent. The report said this is seen as a natural outcome of families seeking external support due to the prolonged closure of schools. 

“Several families, including where both parents are educated, resorted to supplementary classes showing that several parents may either be feeling insecure about the education of their child or that the families could not provide them support. It is seen that students had resorted to coaching or tuition, irrespective of the class or type of school (government or private). Both heavily relied on tuition,” said Dhananjaya Ramarao, principal of a private school.

While educated parents found it difficult too, a majority of children from disadvantaged households also took tuitions. As children turned towards family support during the Covid-led school shutdown, first generation learners or those whose parents had ‘low’ educational qualifications, found it hard to keep up with online students, said the report. “It is curious that while economic disruptions may have moved children out of private schools, parents were still able to access tuition classes where they had to pay fees,” states ASER.

The digital divide remains an area of concern with as much as 29 per cent of children in Karnataka with smartphones at home having no access to the device. While availability of smartphones in households went up, accessibility has not increased.

Interestingly, for many children, the availability of smartphone at home has gone up from 2018 to 2021 (43.1 per cent to 71.6 per cent), but they have still not been able to get access to it due to various reasons.  The ASER report found that household economic status affected smartphone availability. But 11.7 per cent of children in Karnataka didn’t have access to it, especially the primary students.


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