Yesterday’s Deccan Chronicle carried a brief coverage on the report ‘Elementary Education in India 2005-06’ by National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA). This survey on 11, 24,033 primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary schools in 35 States and
- over 32,000 schools (2.9%) had zero enrollment; nearly half of these are primary schools in the public sector in rural areas
- about 70,000 schools (6.17%) have less than 25 students
- about 1,71,000 have between 25 and 50 children on the rolls
- the enrollment average for all the schools together was 150
This, of course, is an appalling situation when the country is on a literacy drive. While reading the report I was thinking that the fall in birth rate is the major factor for the lack of students particularly at the primary level.
But I was in for a shock when I came across the statement by a spokesman of NUEPA, which is quoted here: “The main reasons for zero enrollments is that these schools either don’t have a single teacher or they may be having para-teachers.” Schools without teachers won’t attract children. That is the basic truth. What is the purpose in calling them schools except perhaps to boost statistics of the number of education institutions?
Something is terribly wrong. Who is responsible?