Home Education In Rural India, Govt School Enrolment Witnesses Growth Probably Because of Financial...

In Rural India, Govt School Enrolment Witnesses Growth Probably Because of Financial Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic

Students learning under a tree in a rural India (Photo source - ASER Report 2020)

Mumtaz Alam | Inclusive India

New Delhi, October 30Probably because of financial distress leading to migration and closure of schools during the Coronavirus-driven lockdown in the last six months, the enrollment of children in government schools in rural areas has gone up, reveals the latest household survey conducted by Annual Status of Education Report, popularly knowns as ASER.

ASER 2020 report shows that overall, more than 60% of all children are enrolled in government schools and close to 30% are enrolled in private schools. “This marks a change from two years ago, when the last comparable ASER survey (2018) was conducted,” says ASER in its report released online on Wednesday (October 28). The survey was conducted in September.

“Beyond the health consequences of COVID-19, the pandemic has caused school closures as well as economic hardships due to migration and loss of livelihoods, among other reasons. ASER 2020 explored whether this unprecedented situation has caused shifts in children’s enrollment patterns in rural India,” it said.

“There has been a clear shift from private to government schools between 2018 and 2020, in all grades and among both boys and girls (Table 2). Reasons may include financial distress in households and/or permanent school shutdowns among the private schools,” says ASER Report.

ASER 2020 Table 1

“As compared to data from ASER 2018, data from ASER 2020 (September 2020) show a small shift in enrollment from private to government schools, across all grades and among both girls and boys. The proportion of boys enrolled in government schools rose from 62.8% in 2018 to 66.4% in 2020. Similarly, the proportion of girls enrolled in government schools rose from 70% to 73% during the same period,” said ASER.

ASER Table 2

Due to Covid-19, Young Children Yet to Get Admission in School

The ASER survey has found that due to the Covid-19 pandemic many young children have not yet got admission in school.

“Many young children yet to get admission in school. ASER 2020 shows that while the proportion of children not currently enrolled for the 2020-21 school year is higher than the equivalent figures for 2018, for most age groups these differences are small. Higher proportions of children not enrolled are visible mostly among the youngest children (age 6 and 7), possibly because they have not yet secured admission to school. This proportion is particularly large in Karnataka (11.3% 6- and 7-year-olds not enrolled in 2020), Telangana (14%), and Rajasthan (14.9%),” says the report.

ASER says: “One widely anticipated consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic was that many more children would drop out of school. Although the true picture will only be known once schools reopen, ASER 2020 asked whether children were currently enrolled for the school year 2020-21.”

ASER Table 3

Among boys in the 6-10 age group, for example, there has been a sharp increase in the proportion of children not currently enrolled, from 1.8% in 2018 to 5.3% in 2020; with a similar increase among girls in this age group. However, this proportion has increased much less among children in the 11-14 age group, among both boys and girls, reveals the report.