School education: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


‘Boards’ of school education

States’ boards

Varying pass percentages, 2022

Manash Gohain, June 1, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi: Pass percentages swing wildly from board to board, a study report by the Union ministry of education reveals. In senior secondary exams, while Meghalaya has a pass percentage of 57%, the figure in Kerala shoots up to 99. 85%.

Among the challenges identified by the ministry — in an assessment of Class 10 and 12 exam results — are huge deviations in performance of students across the boards, lack of a level-playing field for the students in terms of standards and movement across the boards, and barriers for national-level entrance tests created by different syllabi.

The report notes 11 states — UP, Bihar, MP, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Assam, Bengal, Haryana and Chhattisgarh — contribute to 85% of school dropouts.

35L students of Class 10 not reaching Class 11: Report

Thirty five lakh students of Class 10 are not reaching Class 11, 27.5 lakh students are failing and 7.5 lakh students are not appearing for the exam,” the report said. The assessment has also pointed out that the top five boards (UP, CBSE, Maharashtra, Bihar and West Bengal) cover about 50% of students and the rest are enrolled in 55 boards across the country.

According to Sanjay Kumar, secretary, school education, MoE, the difference between pass percentages of various states has led the education ministry to now look at standardising the assessment pattern for all 60 school boards across various states in the country. The other reason behind the standardisation attempt is to contain the dropouts at the level of Class 10. 
The study noted that the deviations might be due to different pattern and ap- proach followed by boards and convergence of secondary and higher secondary board into a single board in a state can help students. The report recommended that state boards may converge science syllabus with the central boards so that students have level playing field for common exams like JEE and NEET.

Currently, there are three central boards in India – Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). Apart from these, various states have their own state boards, taking the total number of school boards to 60.

Among possible causes for higher failure rate in state boards include higher pupil teacher ratio, less number of trained teachers and teachers per school. This contributes to low Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and also affects India’s overall rank in global indices.

International ‘boards’

2011-17: CIE, IB, ISC

Manash Gohain, As foreign boards gain ground, UK’s CIE set to overtake ISC, July 9, 2018: The Times of India

The growth of International ‘boards’ of school education in India, 2011-17: CIE, IB, ISC
From: Manash Gohain, As foreign boards gain ground, UK’s CIE set to overtake ISC, July 9, 2018: The Times of India

Indian students now aspire to a world-class education, as borne out by the remarkable growth of international boards in the country. In the last decade, especially the last five years, many more schools have been offering qualifications with global currency, like the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CIE).

With 10% year-on-year growth between 2014 and 2016, and another 6.1% in 2017, the UK-based CIE’s strength in India is now about 67,000, barely 6,000 students short of the number for the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (ISC). Meanwhile, Switzerland’s IB programme has also increased its presence from 92 schools in 2013 to 146 schools now.

Apart from offering international practices and academic standards, these curricula have also adjusted to the Indian academic calendar.

The Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), which has witnessed rapid growth in India, offers the option of a March examination exclusively for Indian students. These boards also offer a range of Indian subjects such as Sanskrit and Hindi.

With over 22 lakh students across 160 countries, CIE is one of the most popular international school curricula on offer. It now adds roughly 30 to 40 schools in India every year; from 340 schools in 2012-13, it has expanded to 420 schools in 2017.

But these international curricula come with a hefty price tag. Ruchira Ghosh, regional director for South Asia, CIE, said: “The cost is comparatively higher because of the investment it takes to create such a curriculum. It is really about value for money,” she said. Similarly, the IB programme has grown almost tenfold in the last decade. In 2003, a mere 11 schools offered the IB programme. By 2013, this number had gone up to 107.

This growth story also belies the general perception that that CIE or IB students go abroad for higher studies. The majority of these students, in fact, stay on in India for their undergraduate degree and do well.

“While top universities around the world accept the Cambridge qualification, our students are also going to the best of Indian universities. In fact, most of them study in India,” said Ghosh.

The buildings of Schools

As in 2018-19

Ambika Pandit, 1 in 5 schools in unsafe buildings, says report, July 24, 2020: The Times of India

New Delhi:

A survey conducted in 2018-19 in over 26,000 schools (government and private) in 12 states and Union Territories reveals that 22% schools reported working from old and dilapidated buildings and there were cracks in 31% school structures. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has said, “Operating from old, dilapidating buildings can be fatal and thus immediate steps are required.”

These findings are part of a national report on safe and secure school environment released by the NCPCR. The study covered 26,071 schools (4% of total schools across 201 districts in 12 states/UTs).

‘11% of schools have common toilets for girls and boys’

In terms of fire safety in the schools, the data showed that 63% of schools have fire extinguishers. Only 59% of schools have taken NOC from the fire and rescue department. “Data shows that the preparedness of schools against fire safety is weak,” NCPCR concludes.

The study also found that 90% of schools had drinking water, but only 45% reported regular water quality inspection from authorities. Also while in 96% of schools the toilets were built inside school premises, only 74% had inbuilt water facility in toilets. Also in 11% of schools there were common toilets for girls and boys. “The can risk the safety of girl students and the situation should be addressed soon,” NCPCR noted. The report shows that while about 55% of schools had computer rooms and technological devices, 44% of schools had security systems in place to restrict internet. To keep kids safe from cybercrime, 53% of schools (out of 55% of schools with computer rooms) were educating them about safe use of technology.

The buses of Schools

SC’s guidelines of 1997

Dhananjay Mahapatra, SC's code on school bus observed mostly in breach, Jan 20 2017: The Times of India

Speed Limit Was Fixed At 40Kmph

The Supreme Court laid down elaborate guidelines in 1997 for school bus operations across the country to minimise risk to the lives of school children, months after a school bus plunged into the Yamuna at Wazirabad in Delhi and left 28 students dead.

Police and other authorities have blinked at schools operating buses without follo wing the guidelines. The SC had made it clear that only drivers with five years' heavy vehicle driving experience would be eligible to ferry schoolchildren, any driver booked twice for traffic-related offences was to be pulled out of duty.

Apart from that, the court had directed a series of preventive measures -first-aid box in buses, doors to be fitted with proper lock, fire extinguisher, horizontal parallel grills on windows, school bag tray under the seat and provision for water in school buses. Besides, it had made it mandatory for a supervisor, deputed by the school, to accompany the children.

In addition, the court on December 16, 1997 had ordered, “On or after April 30, 1998, no bus used or in the service of an educational institution shall be permitted to operate without a qualified conductor being present at all times.“

CBSE’s rules, guidelines

'Mandatory disclosures' for schools

CBSE extends deadline for 'mandatory disclosures' TNN | Nov 1, 2016, The Times of India

BHOPAL: Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in its latest circular has strictly asked 991 CBSE affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh including 95 from Bhopal [Indpaedia: this applies to all CBSE affiliated schools in India] to conform to its order to display all information regarding fees and expenditure on their websites latest by November 30 2016. Most schools have failed to adhere to the earlier order of the board.

Board had earlier issued an advisory to all its affiliated schools, asking them to share the fee structure along with details of all the facilities they provide by or before October 31. However, 90% schools as per sources in the state failed to abide.

The new order issued by the board, a copy of which is with TOI has asked the schools to upload all information on public domain latest by November 30, 2016, failing which action would be taken against defaulting schools.

Actions shall include cancellation of affiliation and barring such schools from getting affiliation in future. Under mandatory disclosure, the CBSE has asked for an expansive list which includes infrastructural details of the school including the plot size, the built up area, and the size of the playground.

Furthermore, schools are also asked about the number of buildings, details of the trust that owns them or their subsequent management. Besides, the most important revelations in the list include fee structure, salary of teachers with mode of payment, details of sexual harassment committee and personnel information including details of school management, teaching and non-teaching staff.

"All the schools need to comply with the latest orders and the deadline stands extended till November, 30 for mandatory disclosures," reads the official letter of CBSE issued to all schools in the state

No bus duty for teachers

Abhishek Choudhari, CBSE to schools: No bus duty for teachers, Nov 02 2016 : The Times of India


The Central Board of Secondary Education has asked affiliated schools to limit teachers' duty within the classroom and employ “separate trained staff “ for activities like bus route supervision and canteen duty .

“For activities of ministerial nature, transport or canteen and other related tasks, separate trained staff may be deployed by school,“ an order by the central board ruled. According to the new rules, teachers can now reject such “administrative“ assignments.

In Nagpur, where teachers supervise bus routes to ensure students' safety, a private school principal told TOI that institutions appoint `route in-charge' keeping in view the safety of the school students throughout the journey . “Almost always the teacher's stop is either the last, or second last on the route. The bus contractor also puts a female attendant in most buses,“ the principal said.

Every bus has at least one and maximum four teachers aboard.“The regional transport office allows only up to four teachers in the bus as passengers, as the transport vehicle is primarily for stu dents and gets a heavy road tax subsidy . So basically these teachers are just travelling back home but we design the route in such a way that the supervisor teacher gets off at the last stop,“ another principal said.

A principal said supervising kids during break time is essential to avoid untoward incidents. “Kids can get into a fight and with no teacher watching over things can go out of hand fast. Lot of schools balance the workload by cutting down on the teaching hours for such teachers, so frankly no one can complain,“ a teacher said.

‘No sale of books, uniforms in schools’

Manash Gohain, No sale of books, uniforms in schools: CBSE, April 21, 2017: The Times of India

The Central Board of Secondary Education has asked affiliated schools across the country to shut down shops selling textbooks, stationery, schoolbags, uniforms, shoes and similar articles within their premises.

The board asked schools on Thursday to strictly comply with its affiliation byelaws and “not indulge in commercial activities“. This includes sales through “selected vendors“.

The directive comes on the heels of the board's effort to make schools follow NCERT textbooks and creation of an online link for scho ols to raise demand for these books in February this year.

The circular issued by CBSE on “commercial activities“ in schools said the board had received complaints from parents and other stakeholders on schools “indulging in commercial activities by way of selling of books and uniforms etc within the school premises or through selec ted vendors“ despite being asked not to do so.

“There is a nexus of profiteering. But our affiliation byelaws are clear that schools are a community service and not commercial entities. It is mandatory for schools to adhere to the provisions,“ said R K Chaturvedi, chairperson, CBSE. The circular asked school managements to strict ly comply with its directive.

The board cited “rule 19.1 (ii) of CBSE affiliation byelaws“ which mandates that managements shall ensure that the school is run as a community service and not as a business and that commercialisation will not take place in the school in any shape whatsoever.

CBSE said it had taken a “serious view“ of violations of this rule. “Schools are directed to desist from the unhealthy practice of coercing parents to buy textbooks... from within the premises or from selected vendors only .“

The board also reiterated that all affiliated schools are “required to follow direc tions given in its circular dated April 12, 2016, regarding use of NCERTCBSE textbooks. Often the board receives reports and com plaints regarding pressure exercised by schools on children and their parents to buy textbooks other than NCERTCBSE.“

Dropout level, year-wise

Out-of-school children: 2009-2014

RTE effect: 26% drop in number of out-of-school kids since 2009

Akshaya Mukul

Out-of-school children.jpg

The Times of India Oct 14 2014

In a vindication of sorts for the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the latest HRD ministry-mandated survey shows a 26% drop in out-of-school children in the country since 2009.

According to the latest survey conducted by Indian Market Research Bureau for the ministry , out-of-school (OoS) children have declined to 60.6 lakh -2.97% of all children in the 6-14 age group -from 81.5 lakh in 2009. The first survey in 2005 found 1.34 crore out of school.

There were less girls (28.9 lakh) out of school than boys (31.7 lakh). In fact, girls have done better than boys in all three surveys.

A survey of OoS slum children was done for the first time and their number was found to be 4.73 lakh.

The survey found a continuing drop in the number of OoS children among Scheduled Castes and Muslims. Among tribal OoS children, the drop was marginal -from 10.69 lakh in 2009 to 10.07 lakh in 2014. In terms of social classes, the number of SC out-ofschool (OoS) children have come down to 19.66 lakh from 23.08 lakh in 2009 and 31.04 lakh in 2005.

In the latest survey found there were 15.57 lakh Muslim OoS children, down from 18.75 lakh in 2009 and 22.53 lakh in 2005.

While states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal witnessed a decline in the OoS children, in 13 states and Union Territories percentage of such children has increased since 2009.

These include Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

What dampens the good work of RTE is that the decline in OoS disabled children has followed a different trajectory.

In 2005, 5.82 lakh disabled children were out of school which went up to 9.88 lakh in 2009 and in the latest round has come down to 6 lakh. Sources said it could be due to inclusion of more kinds of mental and physical disabilities in the list so that RTE becomes more inclusive. But there is a general acknowledgement that a lot needs to be done on this front.

January-July 2014: Dropout level

The Times of India, Jul 06 2015

Dropout level, rural and urban, age group-wise; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Jul 06 2015

Mahendra Singh

`11% of rural, 6% of urban people under 30 never went to schools'

Around 11% of those between 5-29 years of age in rural areas and 6% in urban areas never went to any educational institution, reveals an NSSO survey conducted between January and July , 2014. The students of the same age group who dropped out were around 33% in rural areas and 38% in urban areas. The survey has highlighted that the proportion of dropouts and `never enrolled' students depended on the living standards of households.The dropout rate was low in case of families with higher usually monthly per capita consumer expenditure (UMPCE). It was found that the proportion of the `never enrolled' category fell steeply from nearly 16% in the poorest households to only 6% among the richest in rural areas. In urban India, too, the percentage dropped from 12% to 1% from the bottom to the top class of households.

The survey found that the proportion of `never enrolled' persons in early 2014 had reduced by around 30% as compared to 2007-08.

However, it noted that the overall picture for proportion of dropouts, both in rural and urban areas, had not changed significantly over time as well as over UMPCE classes.

The survey revealed that the major reason for non-enrolment in rural areas was `not interested in education' (33% male and 27% female) while in urban areas, nearly 33% males and 30% females in the age group 5-29 years never enrolled because of `financial constraints'. The most common reason for dropping out for males was engagement in economic activities (30% in rural areas and 34% in urban areas), whereas for the females, the dominant reason was engagement in domestic activities (33% in rural areas and 23% in urban areas).

It noted marriage as second major reason for females (17%) to leave education in urban areas. The survey found that in rural areas, dropouts were mostly in the age-group of 5-15 years for both males and females. In contrast, in urban areas most dropout were in the age-group of 16-24 years.

2019-20: dropout rate for SC, ST, OBC; class-wise

Rema Nagarajan, July 6, 2021: The Times of India

2019-20: dropout rate for SCs, STs, OBCs and others at the secondary-level, state-wise
From: Rema Nagarajan, July 6, 2021: The Times of India

1/4th of tribals, 1/5th of Dalits quit Class IX & X in 2019-20

Nearly a quarter of tribals and a fifth of Dalits dropped out of school in classes IX and X in 2019-20 compared to just one in nine among ‘general’ category students. In Assam, over a third of all students dropped out at this stage, reveals data from the recently released Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE). Assam and Bihar were the only two states where more girls than boys dropped out at this level.

Class IX and X saw the highest proportion of students dropping out. At the primary level, the proportion that dropped out was very small, mostly below 5%, except among tribal students. At the upper primary level too, the proportion dropping out was less than 2% in most states barring a few like Bihar (9%), Jharkhand (8%) and Gujarat (5%) and among tribal and Dalit students.

States with the highest proportion of students dropping out in class IX and X were Assam (34.4%), MP (26.8%), Gujarat (24.1%) and Odisha (24%) in that order. Interestingly, Delhi had a higher proportion dropping out in classes IX and X (21.5%) than the all-India proportion (16.1%), and marginally higher than even Bihar or Chhattisgarh.

Two states with significant tribal populations, Odisha and MP, had the highest proportion of tribal students dropping out at the secondary level — 31.5% and 30.9% respectively. Gujarat and Maharashtra, which also have sizeable tribal populations, too had over 26% tribal students dropping out at class IX and X level.

Assam had the highest proportion of students dropping out at the secondary level but the dropout rate among tribal students was lower than in all other categories. This seems to be true in other northeastern states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh had the lowest proportion of students dropping out at the secondary level. But one in five tribal students in Kerala and a third of them in Tamil Nadu dropped out at the secondary level, showing the school system’s inability to retain tribal students compared to those from other categories.

Among the larger states, Assam, Odisha and MP, followed by Jharkhand and Bihar in that order had the highest proportion of scheduled caste students dropping out at the secondary level. Odisha had the most stark difference between general category students and the rest. There was zero dropout at the secondary level in the general category, while it was almost a third for every other category. The gap was similarly huge in Jharkhand too.

In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the dropout rate was higher for general category students at the secondary level than for other categories.

2022: State-wise

July 27, 2023: The Times of India

The dropout rate in Indian schools presumably as in 2022
From: July 27, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi : Odisha (27.3%) has the highest dropout rate at secondary school level followed by Meghalaya (21.7%), Bihar (20.5%), and Assam (20.3%).

While the all India dropout rate at this stage of schooling is 12.6%, states like West Bengal, Punjab, Nagaland, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh have dropout rates of over 15%. This was stated in the Rajya Sabha by the ministry of education as it shared the data for Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and state-wise data on the transition and dropout rate at various school levels.

At secondary school level the states with dropout rate higher than 15% include Andhra Pradesh (16.3%), Gujarat (17.9%), Punjab (17.2%) and West Bengal (18%). At primary level, the highest dropout rate is in Manipur (13.3%). Similarly at upper primary level, the highest dropout rate is in Meghalaya. The data shared in Parliament is as per the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL)’s Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) system developed to record data on indicators of school education provided by all the states and UTs.

2023: State-wise, Class X dropout rate

Dec 19, 2023: The Times of India

Dropout rate, Class X, state-wise, 2023
From: Dec 19, 2023: The Times of India

Class X dropout rate is 21%, Odisha record worst at 50%

Manipur Has No Dropout, Delhi Has 1.3%

New Delhi : Dropout rate in Class X in India stood at 20.6% as of 2021-22, as compared with 28.4% in 2018-19, with Odisha as the worst performing state with a rate of 49.9%, followed by Bihar (42.1%), among the ten states where dropout rate is more than the national average, the Centre told Lok Sabha.

In a response to queries from DMK MP Kalanidhi Veeraswamy, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that 1,89,90,809 students appeared for Class X examination in 2022, of which 29,56,138 students failed to progress to Class XI.

“Reasons for failure of students in exams depends on various factors — not attending schools, difficulty in following instructions in schools, lack of interest in studies, level of difficulty of question paper, lack of quality teachers & lack of support from parents, teachers & schools. Further, education is in concurrent list of the Con stitution and majority of the schools are under the domain of respective states and UT governments,” said Pradhan.

The Union ministry of education shared the details of statewise dropout rate at Class X for the last four years (2018-19 to 2021-22). Apart from Odisha and Bihar, the other states with high dropouts are Meghalaya (33.5%), Karnataka (28.5%), Andhra Pradesh and Assam with 28.3% each, Gujarat (28.2%), and Telangana (27.4%).

While Assam has shown marked improvement in the last four years from 44% to 28.3%, Odisha witnessed a negative trend from 12.8% to 49.9% in the same period.

The states with dropout rate less than 10% include Uttar Pradesh (9.2%), Tripura (3.8%), Tamil Nadu (9%), Madhya Pradesh (9.8%), Himachal Pradesh (2.5%), Haryana (7.4%), and Delhi (1.3%). Manipur recorded no dropout.

Electricity connections


Over 37% of schools in India have no electricity, August 4, 2017: The Times of India

Govt: All Delhi Schools Have Power Supply

In an indicator of the state of infrastructure in the country's institutions, the Centre told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that over 37% of schools did not have electricity connections till March 2017.

Only 62.81% schools in the country have electricity connections, the government's report said. Jharkhand is at the bottom of the list, with just 19% of schools in the state having access to electricity . The national capital, along with Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry top the list with all schools having electricity connection. Some of the states with poor access to electricity are Assam (25%) and Meghalaya (28.54%).

Others in the list include Bihar (37.78%), Madhya Pradesh (28.80%), Manipur (39.27%), Odisha (33.03%) and Tripura (29.77%).

State minister for HRD Upendra Kushwaha, in written response to a question at the Rajya Sabha, stated that the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) annually collects the information on various educational indicators, including infrastructural facilities in schools through the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE).

Kushwaha said that the Centre supported state governments and Union Territory administrations for creation and augmentation of infrastructure facilities, including electrification in government elementary and secondary schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan programmes.

Under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 1,87,248 elementary schools have been provided internal electrification up to 2016-17 and under RMSA, electricity have been provided in 12,930 secondary schools so far.

Elementary schools

2016: shortage of teachers

Saroj Kumar , Primary education “India Today” 11/12/2017

Lack of elementary school teachers;
From: India Today

See graphic

Lack of elementary school teachers


2000-2018: major gains

Manash Gohain, July 13, 2019: The Times of India

Enrolment in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools in India, 2000-2018
Gender parity in Indian schools.
From: Manash Gohain, July 13, 2019: The Times of India

India, defying the global trend, is likely to meet the 2030 deadline to reach the 100% child enrolment and school completion target set in the Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). The new projection prepared for the UN High-level Political Forum stated that “the world will fail its education commitments without a rapid acceleration of progress” and by 2030 one in six aged 6-17 will still be excluded. However, for India, 99% of children are expected to complete primary school in 2030 and 84% projected to complete upper secondary school.

The India data, sourced exclusively by TOI, also revealed improvement in gender parity — since 2008 and 2012, there have been more girls enrolled in primary and lower secondary, respectively.

The projection highlighted that many children still drop out and by 2030, 40% will still not complete secondary education at current rates. While the global education goal, SDG 4, calls on countries to ensure children are not only going to school but also learning, the proportion of trained teachers in regions like sub-Saharan Africa has been falling since 2000. At current trends, by 2030, learning rates are expected to stagnate in middleincome countries and Latin America. Without rapid acceleration, globally, 20% of young people and 30% of adults will still be unable to read by the deadline.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasises leaving no one behind yet only 4% of the poorest 20% complete upper secondary school in the poorest countries, compared to 36% in the richest. The gap is even wider in lower-middle-income countries.

However, for India the future looks promising with 99% expected to complete the primary school in 2030. From only 37% completing upper secondary education in 2000, 84% are expected to complete in 2030. In comparison, onefourth of all children are not explected to complete primary school in Pakistan and one in 10 in sub-Saharan Africa.

In terms of gender parity in school, in 2006, only 53% of Indian girls were completing lower secondary education, compared to 66% of boys. Now, the rates are fairly similar — at 79% and 82%. In 1999, just over eight girls attended primary school for every 10 boys. By 2012, enrollment numbers were even. Now, there are more girls enrolled than boys.

While globally, in terms of sex, 70 young women in low-income and 88 in lower-middle income countries complete upper secondary school for every 100 young men who do so. Gender disparities reverse in richer countries — 106 young women in upper-middle and 107 in highincome countries complete upper secondary school for every 100 young men.

In a complementary publication of the projection, it highlighted “In India, a programme in Bihar provided a bicycle to every girl entering grade 9 or 10 to reduce their dropout rates, and the national Mahila Shakti Kendra initiative supported village-level Women Empowerment Centres offering development of skills such as digital literacy.”

Manos Antoninis, director of the Global Education Monitoring Report, Unesco, said: “Countries have interpreted the meaning of the targets very differently. This seems correct given that countries set off from such different starting points. But they must not deviate too much from the promises made in 2015.”

The Global Education Monitoring Report calculated in 2015 that there was a $39 billion annual finance gap to achieve the global education goal and yet aid to education has stagnated since 2010.

“The onus shouldn’t all be on donors to fix the problem,” said Silvia Montoya, director of the Unesco Institute for Statistics. “Countries need to face up to their commitments too.”

2012> 2020: a decline of 3.3m

Dec 12, 2021: The Times of India

India's goal of universal school enrolment by 2030 may have hit a stumbling block, with a steady decline in enrolment resulting in 3.3 million fewer children in school in 2019-20 than a decade before that.

The school-going population declined from 254.8 million in 2012-13, the year when the unified district information system for education (UDISE) was initiated, to 250 million in 2019-20, the latest year for which data is available.

"Overall enrolment has been falling at all levels for almost a decade, whether primary, elementary or overall I to XII enrolment. The decline in enrolment is much higher than the decline in child population," said Arun Mehta, former professor of NIEPA and author of the research paper, "Is decline in school enrolment in India a cause of concern?...Yes, it is".

Mehta said one of the problem points was that "instead of trying to explain the steady slide, the government has announced improvement by citing the 2018-19 enrolment data which is the lowest enrolment fell to in a decade".

The last decade saw the highest enrolment in 2015-16, when it touched 260.6 million, and the lowest in 2018-19, when it dropped to 248.3 million. The government has focused on how total enrolment increased by 2.6 million in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19. In reality, enrolment in grades I to XII in 2019-20 was less than that in all other years since 2012-13, barring 2018-19.

Curiously, 2019-20 saw an increase in enrolment over 2018-19 despite a steep fall in the number of schools covered by UDISE that year. The number fell by 43,292, compared to 2018-19, the biggest decline in the number of schools covered since 2012-13. The sharpest decline has been in schools run by the department of education, a reduction of over 50,000 schools, offset by an increase in the number of private schools.

This reduction in the coverage of government schools under UDISE+ is generally believed to be due to the merger and closure of thousands of schools for "consolidation and rationalisation of schools" under Niti Aayog's Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital project.


Manash Gohain, Nov 4, 2022: The Times of India

School enrolment and infrastructure, and pupil teacher ratio in Indian schools, 2018-22
From: Manash Gohain, Nov 4, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi : Indicating an improvement in the ability of the school system to retain more children over time, the total enrolment in 2021-22 was a little over 25. 57 crore, an increase by more than 19 lakh over 2020-21, which includes more than eight lakh girl students.

The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), which compares the enrolment in a specific level of education to the population of the age-group which is most age-appropriate for that level of education, too has made significant improvement. The latest Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) data also indicated that overall school infrastructure has improved, especially in availability of electricity, drinking water facilities, computers, internet and toilets for children with special needs. The pupil teacher ratio too has improved between 2018-19 and 2021-22 across four different levels of school education.

Uttar Pradesh witnessed the highest number of enrolment of students in government schools and recruitment of teachers. The ministry of education (MoE) released the UDISE+ 2021-22 on school education in India.

In 2021-22, total students enrolled in school education from primary to higher secondary stood at 25. 5 crore compared to 25. 3crore enrolment in 2020-21, registering an increase of 19. 3 lakh enrolments. Total number of scheduled caste enrolment increased to 4. 82 crore in 2021-22 as compared to 4. 78 crore in 2020-21. Similarly, total scheduled tribe enrolment increased to 2. 51 crore in 2021-22 from 2. 49 crore in 2020-21. Total other backward students also increased to 11.

4crore in 2021-22 from 11. 3crore in 2020-21. Registering an improvement of 3. 4% over 2020-21, the total enrolment of children with special needs (CWSN) in 2021-22 stands at 22. 67 lakh.

While general level of participation has improved in 2021-22 at primary, upper primary, and higher secondary levels of school education, as compared to 2020-21, notably in higher secondary GER has made significant improvement from 53. 8% in 2021-21 to 57. 6% in 2021-22.

Moreover, Gender Parity Index (GPI) (which shows the representation of females in school education in line with representation of girls in the population of corresponding age group) values at all levels of school education are one or more implying more participation of girls in the school education. In 2021-22, over 12. 3 crore girls are enrolled in primary to higher secondary showing an increase of 8. 2 lakh compared to the enrolment of girls in 2020-21. 
Total number of schools in2021-22 stood at 14. 9 lakh as compared to 15 lakh in 2020-21. According to MoE, the decline in total schools is mainly due to closure of private and other management schools and grouping/clustering of schools by various states.

The school education sector also witnesses improvement in the number of teaching and non-teaching staff. Total teachers in 2018-19 was 94. 3 lakh which increased to 95 lakh in the year 2021-22. The number of non-teaching staff has also improved during this period — from 12. 3 lakh in 2018-19 to 15. 2 lakh in 2021-22.

Economically weaker sections

Few takers for EWS seats in Delhi, 2018 – 24

Shradha Chettri, Dec 17, 2023: The Times of India

Admission data of economically weaker section, disadvantaged students in private schools, 2018-23
From: Shradha Chettri, Dec 17, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi: Over the years, the number of seats offered to the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups (EWS/DG) students at the entry level in private schools has seen a drop. When in 2018-19 there were around 45,859 seats and 33,553 students got admission, the number fell in 2023-24 to 35,186 seats, for which 28,467 students were admitted.

This information was shared by Delhi government’s education department in the assembly on Friday to the question raised by BJP MLA and leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.

Section 12 (1) (C ) of the Right to Education Act reserves 25% of the seats for the EWS/DG category in private schools. Out of this 25%,3% of the seats are reserved for children with specialneeds (CWSN).

Earlier, the admission under this category used to be held offline in each school. However, since 2016-17, the Directorate of Education has conducted centralised admission. The application is invited online and then a computerised draw of lots is conducted to select the student.

In 2016-17 and 2017-18, the online admission was conducted only for schools under the Directorate of Education. In 2016-17, there were 28,193 seats on offer of which 19,796 were taken. A year later, the number of seats increased to 31,664 and around 25,154 got admission under the category.

Since 2018-19, private schools recognised by the local government body also became part of the centralised admission process. The number of seats went up to 45,859, with 33,553 eventual admissions. In 2020-21, when the maximum number of 47,647 seats were offered, 33,241 children were admitted. The highest number of admissions, however, took place in 2019-20 when out of the 45,679 seats offered, 34,414 got taken.

Soon after in 2021-22, there was the lowest number of admissions recorded when only 25,156 of the 35,532 seats were claimed and allocated.

Many of the schools attribute the decrease in the total number of seats to the pandemic. “During the Covid period, parents lost their jobs and moved out children from the smaller private schools. The number of EWS seats is a ratio of the number of general category seats for which admission is offered. But when the schools saw fewer admissions in the general category, the EWS/DG seats offeredalso reduced,” explained a school principal. The schools filed a case in Delhi High Court on the issue, but the court decreed that the schools had toadmit all students selected through the draw of lots.

Delhi government is yet to provide a response on the decline in EWS/DG admissions. However, in the assembly, education minister Atishi attributed the drop to several reasons, including a higher number of applications for some prestigious schools and a lower number of applications for others schools, resulting in seats remaining vacant. She underlined that the entire admission process for EWS quota seats was online with no manual intervention. She also said that arbitrary actions by schools in the admission process were addressed by sending notices to them.


Govt can regulate fee hike by pvt schools: HC

The Times of India, Jan 20 2016

Abhinav Garg

HC: Can't Engage In Profiteering Of Education

Govt can regulate fee hike by pvt schools

In a landmark verdict, the Delhi high court put an end to what it called “profiteering and commercialisation of education“ and empowered the state government to regulate fee hike by private schools. A day after it asked the AAP government to “set its house in order“ and improve its schools, the court ruled that fee hike by private unaided schools, who got DDA land at concessional rates, requires prior sanction from the Delhi government's education department. The order is expected to curb arbitrary fee hike.

“It is clear that schools cannot indulge in profiteering and commercialisation of school education... Quantum of fees to be charged by unaided schools is subject to regulation by DoE under Delhi Schools Education Act and it is competent to interfere if hike in fee by a particular school is found to be excessive and perceived as indulging in profiteering,“ a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath held.

The court further ordered DoE to ensure compliance. It also directed DDA to take action against those private schools which violate the embargo on fee hike in the letter of allotment of land.

The judgement came on a PIL filed by advocate Khagesh Jha for an NGO, Justice For All, which urged the court to intervene and ensure that recognised private unaided schools situated on land allotted by DDA adhere to specified norms and take prior sanction of DoE before hiking their fees.

Action Committee for Unaided Recognised Private Schools, an umbrella body of school associations in Delhi, has decided to “immediately move the Supreme Court“ against the HC verdict.

“This is contrary to the earlier judgment of the Supreme Court in the TMA Pai case in which complete autonomy was granted to private schools with regard to fee structure.This cannot bypass the SC judgment. We have no alternative but to immediately move the matter to the SC,“ said SK Bhattacharya, president, Action Committee.

RC Jain of Delhi State Public School Management Association pointed out that school fees are decided by school management committees, which include nominees of DoE.

Sanskriti admission deadline extended

The Delhi government's deadline of January 22 for nursery admission forms was on Tuesday extended till this month end for Sanskriti School by the Supreme Court. It also decided to set up a three-judge bench to hear the matter.

The Centre and the school administration have assailed in the apex court the decision of the Delhi high court setting aside the 60% quota in the school for the children of group-A government officials who are in the highest class of government servants.

They have also sought an interim order allowing the institution to continue with the admission process under the old scheme till the matter is finally decided by the court.

‘Govts shouldn't mess with private school fees’

GURCHARAN DAS, Why govts shouldn't mess with private school fees, August 6, 2017: The Times of India

Imagine you are a young, idealistic person and you start a private school. You hire inspired teachers like yourself. The school does well and gets a nice a new law, the Right to Education reputation. Then a new law, the Right to Education Act (RTE) comes in 2010. It mandates parity with teacher salaries in government schools. You are forced to triple your teachers' salaries to Rs 25,000 per month. Even Doon School has to raise its salaries. The law also insists that 25% of your students must come from poor families. Although the government is expected to cover fees of the poor, it pays only a partial amount or none at all.Fees of the 75% students rise steeply to cover the costs of both factors. Soon, teacher salaries rise again to Rs 35,000 as mandated by the pay commission. Again, you have to raise fees.

Parents are angry now with constantly rising fees and `fee control' becomes a political issue. The government steps in with a new law to control student fees. Gujarat, for example, caps the fee at Rs 1,250 per month for primary and Rs 2,300 for high schools. Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab also have fee caps and Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are considering one. Your school's survival is threatened because fees will not cover your costs. You have three choices. You can either bribe the school inspector, who is happy to show you how to fudge your accounts; or you can severely cut back on the quality of your school programmes; or you close down. Ironically , you had supported the RTE law, which raised teacher salaries and gave the poor a chance for a good education. Since you are an honest person and won't compromise on quality , you are forced to close down your school.

Parents are devastated. The widespread clamour for fee control results in the closure of good schools. As a parent, your choice now is to send your child to a government school or an inferior private school. Most parents won't opt for a government school -although it offers free tuition, textbooks, uniforms, school bags, meals -because teachers are frequently absent or are not teaching. This is why even children of the poor have been abandoning government schools. Between 2011-15, enrolment in government schools fell by 1.1 crore and rose in private schools by 1.6 crore, as per government's DISE (District Information System for Education) data.

Capping fees is a form of price control, which used to be a ubiquitous feature of our socialist days under Nehru and Indira Gandhi. It only created huge shortages and a black economy . The Soviet Union also collapsed partly because of price controls. But we have come a long way since then. Hence, it is curious that this damaging idea has become a political issue. Only 18% of private schools charge fees higher than Rs 1,000 per month and 3.6% charge more than Rs 2,500 a month. So, where are the votes? Narendra Modi knows this and has privately expressed his reservations against fee caps. He realises that there is vigorous competition between private schools, especially in cities, and this has kept private schools fees low -the national median fee today is only Rs 417 per month. You don't need fee control because competition keeps the prices low. Moreover, state governments spend two to three times per child in state schools than the fee cap.

What then is the answer? It lies in the SelfFinanced Independent Schools Act 2017 of Andhra Pradesh, which encourages private schools to open, gives them freedom of admission and fees, and removes corruption from board affiliation. To the Andhra model, we should add a requirement for extensive disclosure on each school's website -giving all fees, staff qualifications, details of infrastructure, strengths and weaknesses -everything that a parent wants to know before selecting a school. With competition, fee control becomes unnecessary .

Private schools have played a vital role in keeping India afloat in the past seventy years. Their alumni have filled the top ranks of professions, civil services and business. Their leadership has made India a world class software power. The government should focus on improving government schools rather than messing with the fees of private schools. As citizens, we should drop this sinister demand for fee control. Instead, let us sing along with Nat King Cole, who expresses nicely our attitude to private schools: `Sometimes I love you, sometimes I hate you. But when I hate you, it's because I love you'.

Fee hike: Govt. approval needed—SC

Unaided pvt schools need Upholds govt nod for fee hike: SC, Jan 24, 2017: The Times of India

Private unaided schools that were granted subsidised land by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in the national capital would not be able to hike fees without approval from the government, the Supreme Court said.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud refused to interfere with the order of the Delhi high court which had in January last year held that the schools were bound to seek approval from the directora te of education (DoE) before increasing fees.

The high court had held that schools granted land at cheaper rates by DDA could not indulge in profiteering and commercialisation of education by increasing fees on their own and directed that approval from the directorate of education was a must before taking such a decision. “Quantum of fees to be charged by unaided schools is subject to regulation by DoE... under the Delhi School Education Act, 1973, and it is competent to interfere if the fee hike by a school is found to be excessive and perceived as indulging in profiteering,“ the court had said. The HC had passed the order on a petition filed by an NGO, Justice for All, which contended there were close to 400 private-unaided schools which had been allotted government land in the city. The list includes Modern School (Barakhambha), DPS (RK Puram), Air Force Bal Bharti School (Lodhi Road), Amity International School (Saket), Sanskriti School (Chanakyapuri), Mirambika Free Progress School (Sri Aurobindo Ashram), Convent of Jesus and Mary (Bangla Sahib Marg), Ryan International School (Mayur Vihar) and Ahlcon International School (Patparganj).

The fees of high end schools


The fees of high end schools in India in 2017; The Times of India, April 15, 2017

See graphic:

The fees of high end schools in India in 2017

Government (central) guidelines

Weight of school bags, homework for Class I, II

Manash Gohain, Centre fixes weight of school bags based on class, November 27, 2018: The Times of India

2018: Government (central) guidelines on weight of school bags; homework for Class I, II; subjects
From: Manash Gohain, Centre fixes weight of school bags based on class, November 27, 2018: The Times of India

No Homework For Students In Class I & II

Children’s school bags are set to get lighter as several states and Union territories are acting on a recent communication from the Centre to formulate guidelines that set out the maximum weight in accordance to the class in which students are enrolled.

The HRD ministry, which had announced “rationalisation” of school syllabi by culling irrelevant or obsolete content, has said Class X school bags must not exceed 5kg while for Classes I and II, they should not be more than 1.5kg. The norm for Classes III to V would be between 2kg and 3kg, for VI and VII it should be 4kg, and for Classes VIII and IX 4.5kg.

The Centre’s letter to states, UTs and education boards also states that there will be no “homework” for Classes I and II and no subject other than language and mathematics will be prescribed for these classes. For Classes III to V, schools will teach only environmental science (EVS), mathematics and languages as prescribed by NCERT.

Government proposal

‘Ensure students don’t bring additional books to school’ '

The letter sent to the states asks them to “formulate guidelines to regulate the teaching of subjects and of schoolbags in accordance with government of India instructions”. Following the communication, some states issued circulars to education departments to comply with the directions with immediate effect. Some like Delhi said they have not yet received the MHRD’s letter, which was issued last month.

The Centre’s move is in keeping with the MHRD’s initiatives to reduce schoolbag weight and also rationalise teaching calendars to ensure more time for nonacademic activities like sports and other skills.

While setting class-wise weight limit on schoolbags, the Centre has asked states and UTs and education boards to ensure “students should not be asked to bring additional books, extra materials”. While Lakshadweep administration has implemented the guidelines with immediate effect, some other states like Karnataka will issue their norms based on the MHRD’s direction.

The ill-effects of heavy schoolbags may not be immediately evident but physicians say they can have an adverse impact on the nervous system besides being a physical burden for kids. Dr Ramneek Mahajan, director, orthopaedics and joint replacement, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, said heavy schoolbags can cause lasting damage like spinal deformities as children’s skeletal frames are not fully formed.

“The excess weight puts undue stress on the muscles, ligaments and discs and damages them. Children develop a forward head posture as they are swinging forward at the hip to compensate for the heavy weight. In the long term, they are developing imbalances that can affect the nervous system,” he said.


Prevalence: as in 2017?

Aditi Gyanesh, 74% of teachers still use homework to assess students, January 4, 2019: The Times of India

Despite efforts by the government and schools to lessen the burden of homework, 74.3% of Indian teachers still use home assignments as a top tool to assess students, says a National Achievement Survey report for Classes 3, 5, and 8.

Only 24.3% of teachers depend on project-based or experiential learning to assess students, the survey found. Rajasthan (93%), Himachal Pradesh (92%), Haryana (92%) and Uttarakhand (91%) led the list of states where teachers almost entirely assess students on homework.

In Karnataka, 83% of teachers used home assignment as a tool to assess students’ abilities while 39% gave importance to project work. Tamil Nadu (67%), Puducherry (53%), Andhra Pradesh (45%), Odisha (40%) and Tripura (42%) attached more importance to project work, says the survey.

“This is because there is no proper plan,” said Nirajan Aaradhya VP, fellow at Centre for Child and Law at the National Law School of India University. He said for project work, a 30-minute period is too short. “ We can’t blame it on teachers. A period of about 45 minutes is enough to make learning fun and interactive,” he added.


2021- 22

February 21, 2023: The Times of India

The human and physical infrastructure available in Indian schools in 2021- 22
From: February 21, 2023: The Times of India

In the 2023-24 Union Budget, the Centre allocated Rs 1. 13 lakh crore for the education sector, raising the projected expenditure on school and higher education by around 8. 3% compared with 2022-23. But recent answers to questions in Parliament show that there’s still plenty of room to raise the standards of education in India. Indicators like student-teacher ratios and the number of one-teacher schools point to a serious shortage of trained personnel. And despite a push to digitise education, most schools don’t have access to the internet. 

In Bihar, 1 Teacher For Every 60 Primary School Students

Among those with the worst student-teacher ratios are states with the largest populations or highest population density. UP and Bihar, among the worst for student-teacher ratios, are not only the most populous states in the country but also among the poorest. Conversely, states with smaller populations are among those with the best student-teacher ratios. But despite poor student-teacher ratios, states and UTs like Haryana, West Bengal and Delhi have literacy rates well above the national average. 

More Than 16,000 One-Teacher Schools In Madhya Pradesh Alone

Almost 8% of India’s schools have only one teacher. Some of the most populous states also have the most one-teacher schools. Madhya Pradesh, for instance, has a primary student-teacher ratio of 25 — better than the level mandated by the RTE Act — but it also has the most oneteacher schools. Among the larger states, Kerala has the fewest oneteacher schools at 310. 

Less Than A Fourth Of Schools Have Internet Access

Despite the push to digitise education, fewer than one in four schools in India have internet access. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the National Digital Library programme in this year’s Union Budget and the National Digital University programme last year to improve learning outcomes and make up for pandemicrelated learning losses. But in 29 states and UTs, less than half the schools have internet access, which will likely make the implementation of such digital programmes difficult.


2013: 75% of schools lack decent labs

75% of schools lack decent science labs

School laboratories: India

The Times of India Aug 19 2014

More than three quarters of schools in the country do not have fully equipped science laboratories for students in class 11 and 12, a survey of 2.4 lakh secondary and senior secondary schools has found. For classes 9 and 10, where an integrated science module is taught to students, over 58% schools don't have the requisite lab.

“This is an atrocious state of affairs,“ says a sad Professor Yashpal, scientist and former chairman of the UGC who has been one of India's most well-known science communicators. “Everybody knows the importance of labs in science teaching. But learning science has been reduced to mugging up things,“ he said.

The shocking state of science teaching at school level contrasts with the high profile science education and research institutions at the top like IITs, IISc and others. The survey was carried out under the Unified District Information System on Education and data analysed by Delhibased National University for Educational Administration and Planning. The report was released recently .

In several states the situation is much worse than what the national average indicates. In Karnataka, just 6% of schools have fully equipped labs for senior students while in Andhra, the share is a mere 13%. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have a better share -34% and 38%, respectively. In Assam, just 4% schools have labs while in Bengal the share of such schools is only 6%. In smaller states and union territories like Delhi, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Goa and even Manipur, the situation is relatively better.

Perhaps this dire situation is there because there are no science students? Although this in itself would be a matter of serious worry , data in the same report shows that over 5.4 million students study science. That's more than one-third of students covered in the survey . Note that these students are spread over all schools.In fact, 43% of schools offer science to senior students, as stated in the report.

Medium (language) of instruction

As in 2018-19

Manash Gohain, September 11, 2020: The Times of India

The Medium (language) of instruction of Indian schoolchildren, presumably as in 2018-19.
From: Manash Gohain, September 11, 2020: The Times of India

Amid a raging debate over “imposition of languages”, official data points to over 50% of students completing their secondary level of education with one of 12 Indian languages and senior secondary level with one of eight home languages, other than English, as the medium of instruction.

According to National Statistical Organisation’s (NSO) latest report on education, 70% or more students whose home language is Assamese, Bengali and Gujarati completed their school education in these vernacular languages. However, more students whose mother tongue is Malayalam, Telugu, Manipuri, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Konkani or Nepali opted for English as the medium at least till Class X.

In general, a significant shift towards English medium is seen at senior secondary level — Classes XI and XII.

The National Education Policy 2020 reiterates the three-language formula and suggests medium of instruction in home language at least till Class V. The RTE Act also suggests that the mother tongue should be considered as the medium of instruction wherever possible.

The NSO survey reveals that 91.1% of students whose mother tongue is Assamese are learning in their home language at the primary level, the highest for any mother tongue at this level, followed by Odiya at 90.5%. At upper-primary or middle school level, 93.7% of the students whose mother tongue is Odiya are learning in their home language, followed by Assamese (89.8%), Bengali (86.5%) and Hindi (81.5%).

On the other side of the spectrum are Sanskrit, Urdu, Manipuri, Bodo, Konkani, Nepali and Sindhi, where the percentage of students studying in their home language is significantly low. As per the survey, there are no students attending classes in Sanskrit medium. In the primary and middle-school level, just 8.7% and 4.7% of students have opted for Manipuri medium, while it is 11.4% and 28.6% for Nepali. The figures for Urdu as home language and medium of instruction are 11.8% (primary), 14.5% (middle-school) and 14.2% at secondary level.

The survey also showed that preference for English as a medium of instruction is more prevalent at the starting phase of schooling and at senior secondary level.

Policies, reforms

No-detention policy fails

The Times of India, Jun 19 2016

For those who grew up in In dia jumping hoop after hoop from kindergarten to Class XII, school seems unimaginable without the fearsome final exam which determined whether you went ahead or not. Now, a few years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act ended the passfail system until Class VIII, many states say that students are failing in large numbers and learning levels have plummeted. In Delhi, for instance, the proportion of students repeating Class IX rose from 2.8% in 2010 to 13.4% in 2014.

By eliminating the final exam, “the last modicum of accountability in government schools has been taken away ,“ says Atishi Marlena, adviser to Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia. Students can coast from class to class without being able to achieve basic levels of reading, writing and comprehension, say those who oppose no-detention.

Now, policymakers seem to think that the no-detention policy of the RTE Act is failing students, weakening teachers and misguiding parents. “We heard out people from across the spectrum, and all the secretaries were unanimous in their view that the child and the teacher both lose out,“ says former civil servant Shailaja Chandra, a member of the TSR Subramanian committee set up by the HRD ministry to examine an education overhaul. The committee has recommended scrapping the no-detention policy after Class V.

In 2012, a Central Advisory Board of Education sub-committee, headed by Geeta Bhukkal, then education minister of Haryana, had said that the policy might work if schools had greater resources and all-round motivation, but that for now, no-detention was difficult to implement.

The no-detention policy , though, is not the woolly-headed and kind-hearted intervention it is now being made out to be. No detention emphatically does not mean the end of regular testing.It is meant to go along with a system of continuing and comprehensive evaluation (CCE), which lets a teacher evaluate a child's learning levels, and regroup those who need remedial help in certain subjects.

Exams, after all, are not elim ination exercises meant to demoralise a child ­ they are meant to gauge and improve learning.“No other place, the US, Europe or any other place that India aspires to be, wastes public money by making a child waste a year because she needs help in a certain area,“ says Krishna Kumar, educationist and one of the architects of the RTE Act.

The colonial idea of a strictly controlled classroom, and a final exam that passes or fails a student, may be considered obsolete around the world but it still shapes the common Indian view of schooling. But while many believe that failure is a goad to learning, there is zero empirical evidence that detention improves academic performance. It does, however, extract psychological costs from a student. Even the Bhukkal committee found that the pass percentage in the Class X exams improved after the system, and dropouts, especially among children from disadvantaged backgrounds, had considerably decreased. The Subramanian committee report also admits that the no-detention policy has been “empirically validated“, keeping children in school for those eight years and also raising pass percentages across boards.

“The problem is not the policy , it is the way it has been communicated,“ says Vimala Ramachandran, former NUEPA professor. “In our surveys, we found it had become a licence not to do any assessment at all. Teachers mechanically filled out forms as though it was another administrative task, without doing the activities required to evaluate the child's capabilities,“ she says. While upper-end private schools can easily incorporate this, many government schools are challenged, she says. Both teachers and administrators are bewildered by these new demands, and the system tends towards laxity , rather than creativity . “In large classrooms, where the teachers are themselves preoccupied, it has been difficult for them to pursue the child's development, or for there to be outside monitoring of each child's progress,“ says Chandra.

But scrapping no-detention is the equivalent of wilfully breaking the RTE-conceived schooling system, and then declaring it broken, say others. “The no-detention policy cannot be seen in isolation, but in the context of the neglect of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RTE goals,“ says Kumar.


Schools with playgrounds

Schools with playgrounds: India

See graphic 'Schools with playgrounds'

STATOISTICS - State of Play

The Times of India Jul 29 2014]

The fact that today's urban children have little playing space where they live is well known. That makes adequate playgrounds in schools even more important. This is not just to improve India's performance in sports, but because studies have shown that school-level games play an important role in a child's personality development by teaching them to cooperate, plan, negotiate and so on. But data analysed by TOI shows that there are many states, including Bihar and Orissa, where seven out of ten primary schools don't have playgrounds. Data from the Unified District Information System on Education (U-DISE) suggests that access to playgrounds improves somewhat in secondary schools.

Private Schools

1978> 2017

Manash Gohain, Pvt schools grooming about 50% of students in country, July 23, 2020: The Times of India

Now World’s Third Largest School System

New Delhi:

Nearly 50% (12 crore) students in India today are enrolled in private schools, making it the third largest system in the world behind China’s education system and India’s public school system. While the growth of enrolment in government schools dropped from a little over 74% in 1978 to 52% in 2017, in private schools it grew from just above 3% to nearly 35% in the same period. Even as it contributes nearly Rs 2 lakh crore to the economy, the private school growth story is also inhibited by low learning levels, lack of transparency and regulatory issues.

“The State of the Sector Report: Private Schools in India”, a comprehensive study by Central Square Foundation based on government data calls for transparency from private schools to improve their quality and for the government to play a role in regulating their fees. Contrary to the perception of being elite, the report highlighted that 45% of students in private schools pay less than Rs 500 a month as fees and 70% pay less than Rs 1,000 a month as fees. According to the report, enrolment grew by nine percentage points between 1998 and 2007, and ever more rapidly, by 16.6 percentage points, in the next decade between 2007 and 2017.

However, the issue of low learning outcomes plague private schools as well with 60% of rural private school students in class V unable to do a three-digit division, 35% failing to read a basic class II level paragraph, and average score for class X students in private schools dipping below 50% in four out of five subjects.

Releasing the report, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog said: “There is an information asymmetry that exists. Though enrolment has increased exponentially in private schools, the learning outcomes have stagnated for a decade now. They have to really focus on learning outcomes as that is critical. Various state governments also need to rethink on a regulatory framework for private schools and focus on learning outcomes rather than on any other inputs.”

As per the report, factors driving low learning levels are lack of information around school quality with the only independent markers being the board examinations. And with 60% of the private unaided schools ending before the grade board exam testing, it becomes difficult for parents to judge the quality of their schooling options. Also a far greater number (42%) of private unaided schools offer English as a language of instruction as opposed to 10% of government schools. But, schools which are English medium on paper may not be so in practice.


Manash Gohain, Nov 3, 2022: The Times of India

Private schools in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka , 2020
From: Manash Gohain, Nov 3, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi: In the past 30 years South Asia has experienced rapid education expansion, outpacing the rest of the world. While it is India which is driving these regional averages, of every 10 new schools established here in the past eight years, seven are private independent schools.

As per the new Global Education Monitoring Report 2022 by Unesco, inadequate supply and quality of public education, combined with parental aspirations, have driven private education growth in India, as it calls for increased attention to the implementation of regulations covering equity and quality across all schools so that no children are left behind. 
The report says: “Only 46% of adults agreed that the primary responsibility for providing school education rested with the government, the lowest share amongst 35 middle-and high-income countries. ” Moreover, a mass increase in the rates of private tutoring is noted in India with 61% of secondary school students saying they took tutoring due to poor schooling quality.

Highlighting that nonstate actors are significantly involved in every aspect of education systems in south Asia, the report stated that about a third of students in India and Pakistan, and a quarter in Nepal are in private schools that receive no state assistance. Over 90% of teacher education institutions in India are funded only by fees.

Citing that in 2020, there were about 29,600 unrecognised schools educating 3. 8 million students, the report stated that “this may be an underestimate, given differences in the quality of recordkeeping at the state level. In India, an estimated 4,139 unrecognised madrasas educate over 500,000 students. ”

Underlining that while regulations are in place against teachers providing tutoring to their own students, no licensing or registration are required to set up a private tutoring business at present.

“A survey found that 73% of parents in India chose private schools because public schools did not meet quality standards, 12% because they offered English-medium education and 10% because public schools were not available. ”

An analysis of the preferences of 4,400 parents from low-income households across eight cities in India found that over 86% of the children were enrolled in a budget private school or would expect to transition to one in Class I. The main choice criteria included English-medium instruction, schools’ ability to provide classes beyond pre-primary, proximity to home, and education quality proxies such as school reputation. The report warns that expanding access to education through nonstate provision is inequitable. Also, 67,000 of the 97,000 schools established since 2014 have been private and unaided.

According to the report, an estimated 4,139 unrecognised madrassas educate over 5,00,000 students across India.

Private schools, unaided

Terminating services of teachers

The Times of India, April 17, 2016

A driver who was sacked by a private school in 2003 has secured a judgment from the Supreme Court forbidding recognised schools in Delhi from dismissing any employee, including teachers, without "prior approval" of the director of education.

In its judgment on April 13, SC upheld a provision in the Delhi School Education Act 1973 that requires all recognised schools to obtain the government's approval before sacking an employee. The section — 8(2) of the DSEA 1973 — had been struck down by the Delhi high court in July 2005. Terming the 2005 decision "bad in law", the apex court observed, "The intent of the legislature while enacting the same (Section 8(2)) was to provide security of tenure to employees of schools and to regulate the terms and conditions of their employment." Activists said the judgment will check "victimisation" of teachers who dare to raise their voice against arbitrary and illegal decisions of private school managements.

The SC ruling is a shot in the arm for teachers such as Asha Rani, Payal Singh (name changed on request), Dinesh Chand Sharma and their colleagues. According to Asha Rani, 43, she was suspended from a school in Sector 15, Rohini, and two of her colleagues were fired for demanding full salary and benefits.

"Our salaries were being transferred to our accounts but the management took signed, blank cheques from us and withdrew the money. Our actual salaries were being paid in cash," alleges Asha Rani. About 60 teachers had filed a cheating case in 2010. Now, most have inquiries against them. "Other Rohini schools sacked teachers too or they quit under pressure. With this judgment, schools will have to first take permission from the government."

Right to Education (RTE)

Per-child expenditure by states/ 2019

Per-child expenditure by states on Right to Education (RTE), 2018
From: January 11, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

Per-child expenditure by states on Right to Education (RTE), 2018

Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, if the Center's reimbursement of per-child expenditure by states is an indication, the Hindi heartland (excluding the national capital) has a long way to go.

School bags

2020: weight not to exceed 10% of child’s weight

Manash Gohain, December 9, 2020: The Times of India

School bags should not be more than 10% of the body weight of students across classes I to X and there should be no homework till class II. The new ‘Policy on School Bag 2020’ of the Union ministry of education also recommends that the weight of the bag needs to be monitored on a regular basis in schools. They should be light-weight with two padded and adjustable straps that can squarely fit on both shoulders and no wheeled carriers should be allowed. The policy even recommends that the weight of each textbook may come printed on them by the publishers.

The recommendations have been arrived based on various surveys and studies conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The policy stated that data collected from 3,624 students and 2,992 parents from 352 schools, which include Kendriya Vidyalayas and state government schools were analysed.

The ‘Policy on School Bag 2020’ made 11 recommendations on the weight of the bags, including adequate good quality mid-day meal and potable water to all the students so that they need not carry lunch boxes or water bottles.

The policy also recommended that children with special needs be provided a double set of textbooks, through book banks in schools and lockers in classes for storing and retrieving books and other items.

The policy said there should be no bags in pre-primary. For classes I and II the bag weight range should be between 1.6 kg to 2.2 kg. Like-wise it should be 1.7 kg to 2.5 kg, 2 kg to 3 kg, 2.5 to 4 kg, 2.5 kg to 4.5 kg and 3.5 kg to 5 kg for classes III to V, classes VI and VII, class VIII, classes IX and X and classes XI and XII respectively.

Recommending that total study time should be accounted for while planning the syllabus, the policy said while there should be no homework upto class II and a maximum of two hours per week for classes III to V, homework duration for classes VI to VIII should not exceed one hour a day and two hours a day for classes IX and above.

Schools for “special category” students


The Times of India

Schools for “special category” students;
Number of schools and number of seats for disabled children, 2014015

Jan 17 2015

1,571 nursery seats for spl kids

Shreya Roychowdhury

As per the Directorate of Education’s records, there are at least 229 schools in Delhi that are capable of teaching students with some form of disability or the other.

In the schools that have disclosed this information to DoE, there are over 1,571 nursery seats for children under the ‘special needs’ category—some schools are exclusively for disabled children, the rest are mainstream ones. The DoE has uploaded data on seats, category of disability the schools can handle and fees—which it collected from schools last year—on its website for applicants to use as reference.

Both the National Progressive Schools’ Conference and the Action Committee for Unaided Recognized Private schools have mentioned children with special needs in their suggested guidelines.

While few schools have mentioned disabled children in their nursery admission policy to begin with, even at those that have, reservation for this category has been implemented differently. At some, seats for this group are outside the 25% EWS-DG (economically weaker section-disadvantaged groups) category. At Springdales, Pusa Road, for instance, there are three seats for disabled candidates that aren’t part of the 25% EWS quota. “We normally get many applications from this group every year, over 50,” says principal Ameeta Mulla Wattal.

Some schools have carved a 3% reservation out of the 25% EWS-DG one as children with special needs (or CWSN) form one of the “disadvantaged groups”; this was recommended in the Action Committee guidelines as well.

Lawyer-activist Khagesh Jha, however, points out that “the Kendriya Vidyalayas had done the same thing but that guideline was quashed by the high court.” “Schools seem very confused on reserving of seats,” says Jha.

States: the best and the worst


Swati Shinde Gole, June 7, 2021: The Times of India

The Performance Grading Index (PGI) for school education in the Indian states and Union Territories, 2019-20.
From: Swati Shinde Gole, June 7, 2021: The Times of India

PUNE: From level IV to level III, Maharashtra has progressed in the performance grading index for 2019-20 academic year as against the previous year, riding on improvements in the governance processes and equality in education.

The state's progress in three other parameters such as learning outcome and quality, access to education and infrastructure remained unchanged when compared with 2018-19. The report was released by the Union ministry of education.

The assessment of the states was conducted based on five indicators - learning outcomes and quality, access, infrastructure and facilities, equity and governance processes.

The aim of the performance grading index was to pinpoint the gaps, and accordingly prioritize areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level. At the same time, it is expected to act as a good source of information for best practices followed by states and UTs which can be shared.

Former director of education, Vasant Kalpande, said, "Marginal changes in parameters in the sectors like health, achievements always happen when reviewed periodically. This is a natural phenomenon and such statistically insignificant differences don't need to have any specific reason or explanation."

The survey said the governance process parameters had many states score fewer points. This parameter was an important indicator as it would lead to critical structural reforms in areas ranging from monitoring the attendance of teachers to ensuring a transparent recruitment of teachers and principals.

Headmistress of a civic school in the city, Hema Mane, said, "It is common knowledge that shortage of teachers and principals and administrative staff, lack of regular supervision and inspection, inadequate training of the teachers, timely availability of finances are some of the factors plaguing the education system. Through the PGI, the shortfalls can be measured objectively and regularly. This is crucial for taking necessary steps to eliminate the gaps."

The survey report said in the case of learning outcomes, it has been observed that, in general, the scores obtained in the higher standards are less than those in the lower standards. It is therefore imperative to ensure better interventions at the lower standards as it will have a positive cascading effect at the higher levels.

Indicators like availability of ICT facilities and timely availability of textbooks and uniforms, which are critical inputs for better performance of students and mentioned in the RTE Act, are measured in the infrastructure & facilities domain. Significant shortfalls in these areas have also been captured by the infrastructure Index.

The status of school education in India

See Education, annual reports on the status of: India

The students of Schools

The language, maths, science skills of Class VIII students

UP tops in survey of Class VIII kids

NCERT Study Covering 24 States Tests Language, Maths, Science Skills

Akshaya Mukul TNN

The Times of India 2013/07/13

New Delhi: The NCERT’s comprehensive survey of learning achievements of class VIII students across 24 states — comprising more than 300 districts and over 8,000 schools — reveals that Uttar Pradesh is a clear winner.

The other highlight is that in Kerala, girls outperform boys in most subjects.

However, there is a huge gap between UP students who are in the 90th percentile and those in the 10th percentile. For instance, in mathematics, 210 out of 500 is the score of students in the 10th percentile, whereas, 364 is the score of students in the 90th percentile — a gap of 154 marks. In reading comprehension, the difference — called the inter quartile range — is 141 marks. In science, the difference goes up to 169 as score of students in the 10th percentile is 186 and in the 90th percentile is 355. In social science, the range is astounding — 171 marks between the 90th percentile and the 10th percentile.

The survey that tested students in language, mathematics, science and social science skills using Item Response Theory, the most widely used system to map learning achievements, found highly variable range between students in the 90th and the 10th percentile in other states as well. The survey also notes that unlike Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER), the NCERT survey covers government and government-aided schools in rural and urban areas, gives grade-specific tests, uses sufficient length of test covering wide range of measurement points in content area as well as multiple test booklets.

While the NCERT survey tests Class III, IV and VIII students in different subjects, ASER tests them in reading, writing and arithmetic skills. While ASER uses one test booklet in each area, NCERT uses three questionnaires for pupil, teacher and school.

Reading comprehension

Below average states

In reading comprehension, the average score of Andaman & Nicobar islands, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu is significantly below that of the group average of 250.

Average states

The difference between average score in Delhi, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and that of the group average of 250 is not very significant.

Performance of girls and boys

When it comes to reading, no significant gap between the average performance of girls and boys could be found in AP, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. In Delhi, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Punjab, the average performance of girls is better than boys.

Bihar is the only state where boys outperformed girls.

Rural and urban students

No significant difference could be found in the performance of rural and urban students in AP, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, MP, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Delhi is the only state where performance of rural students is higher than urban students.


Delhi is the only state where performance of rural students is higher than urban students. In most other states, urban students do better than rural ones, a nationwide survey finds

Kerala girls outperform boys in most subjects

The survey tested students in language, mathematics, science and social science skills

Why do some children do better at studies? NCERT’s 2015 survey

The good habits of students who do well at studies; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, December 10, 2015

The Times of India, December 10, 2015

Games & siblings key to do better in maths: NCERT

Seetha Lakshmi

Children who play games every day and those with siblings score better in mathematics, but watching television ruins their scores, the NCERT National Achievement Survey has revealed. While having more siblings did little to improve children's reading skills, it did improve maths marks: If those with over four siblings scored an average of 32.9%, grades fell for children with just one sibling. The survey also found that access to more books at home improved reading ability -children with 25 or more books scored 50.8%, while children with no books at home scored 42.6%. But books did little for children to score more in maths (a mere 2.5% improvement), while children who read more did marginally well in science and social science, pointed out S Anand, chief data scientist at Gramener, a data visualisation and analytics company which analysed the data for NCERT.

The survey measured children's learning achievement in language, mathematics, science and social science. It analysed data collected from 6,722 schools (government and government aided), 24,486 teachers and 1,88,647 students through tests and questionnaires from 33 states and Union territories. The objective was to understand what children in schools know and can do at different stages of elementary education.

2015: Std X students below par in English, maths

The Times of India Jan 07 2016

Akshaya Mukul

Big Gap Between Govt And Private School Kids, Finds Study

The first ever survey of learning achievement of class X students has shown that majority of the statesUnion Territories are performing below the overall average score in all subjects. NCERT conducted the survey on 2.77 lakh students from 7,216 schools across 33 statesUTs.

NCERT is also putting in place a system whereby feedback from surveys will be given to the states, examination boards and schools. It has also prepared a detailed analysis of its survey vis-àvis the much touted Pratham's Annual Status of Edu cation Report, the country's first private audit of school education in rural India.

The NCERT survey result shows that only 41% of the students were able to answer correctly in English; in mathematics, only 40% of the students made the cut. In science, 43% of them were able to come up with the right answers, while 47% of them knew the answers in social science. The best result was in Indian languages where 53% of the students were able to give correct answers.

The survey also found there were significant differences in scores of students from government and government-aided schools and private schools. Students of private managed schools did the best with average score of 277 out of 500, whereas government school students scored 236 and those going to government-aided schools got 246.

In English, there is signifi cant difference in the performance of rural and urban students with urban students performing better in Haryana, Meghalaya, Nagaland and J&K. A similar trend was seen in case of mathematics.In science, rural students performed better than urban ones in states like Assam, Kerala and West Bengal. Rural students of Kerala performed better than urban ones in social science. NCERT has ascribed overall low scores to lack of conceptual clarity and understanding. While comparing its National Achievement Survey with Pratham's ASER, NCERT has said that while it conducts class specific assessment, ASER assesses basic ability.


January 15, 2020: The Times of India

Findings of Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2019
From: [ The Times of India]

NEW DELHI: The latest Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) (ASER 2019) released on Tuesday shows that 90% of children in the age group of 4-8 years are enrolled in some type of educational institution with the figure standing at 99.5% for the 8-year-olds. Overall, more girls are going to school, but there are more boys in private schools than girls. While the ability at tasks improves substantially in the age group of 4 to 5, a large proportion of 5-year-olds are unable to perform expected tasks with ease, with children from less advantaged homes affected disproportionately. The survey found that older students do better in terms of performance on cognitive, early language, early numeracy, and social and emotional learning. While 50% of the children whose mothers have eight years or less schooling ended up in anganwadis or government schools, mothers who studied beyond elementary stages are more likely to enrol their wards in private schools.

Every year, since 2005, ASER has reported on the schooling status and the ability of students at basic reading and arithmetic tasks for children in the 5-16 age group in rural India.

After 10 years on this job, ASER switched to an alternate-year cycle in 2016, where basic ASER is conducted every other year (2016, 2018, and next in 2020). In the intervening years, ASER focuses on a different aspect of children’s schooling and learning.

In 2019, ASER puts the spotlight on the early years, reporting on the schooling status, as well as on a range of important developmental indicators for young children in the age group of 4-8 years.

Conducted in 26 districts across 24 states in India, the survey covered 1,514 villages, 30,425 households, and 36,930 children in the age group of 4-8 years.

National policy recommends that children in the 4- to 5-year age bracket should be in pre-primary classes. At this stage, children should be encouraged to develop a range of abilities and skills, including cognitive, social, and emotional skills as well as the conceptual foundations needed for formal schooling.

Girls as good as boys in maths: NCERT survey

The Times of India, Mar 18 2016

Manash Gohain

The notion that girls are not good with numbers and science is just a myth, if data from a nationwide survey of more than 2.7 lakh students is any indicator.The survey conducted on Class X students showed girls performed on an equal footing with boys in mathematics, science and social sciences. The study, however, upheld another common belief-that girls have better language skills. Girls outperformed boys in English and other lan guages in the survey conducted in 2015 by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 7,216 schools following different boards across 33 states and Union territories.

The study also highlighted rampant under-performance among students in rural settings, those studying in govern ment schools and hailing from underprivileged backgrounds such as Dalits and tribals.

Another disturbing trend was the poor showing in science and maths by students in a majority of states. Scores in science were below the national average in 24 states. In maths, the survey showed 21 states falling below the average. In general, students struggled the most in subjects that involved numerical problems and practicals.

The study also showed that a few states were far ahead of the rest. In mathematics, only four states and UTs performed way above the national average while students from 21 states and UTs were assessed to be significantly below the average.In science, as many as 24 states and UTs were below the national average even while a large variation was found in scores within states.

“The survey revealed that the majority of the states and UTs are performing below the overall average score in all subject areas... Low achievement is largely an outcome of lack of conceptual clarity and understanding,“ says the report.

On average, just 41% of the questions on English were answered correctly . In mathematics, the percentage was even less (40%). It was slightly better for science (43%) and social sciences (47%). It was only in modern Indian languages (MIL) that students on average managed to answer more than half the questions correctly (53.5%).

Shockingly , more than one-third of the students scored between 0 to 35%. Only 2% of them could score 75% and above in science and social studies while none could score as much in English and mathematics.

Among states, Karnataka performed the best, with students achieving scores significantly higher than the national average in four of the five subjects assessed. In English, the north-eastern states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim were among the seven best performers.

The report also summarised the performances of various central and state Boards -in subjects as well as range of correct answers.In English, the top three boards were ICSE, CBSE and Nagaland board while in mathematics, ICSE, CBSE and Odisha board had the highest scores.

In science and social science, too, ICSE students performed better than the rest. In MIL, West Bengal board students outperformed the rest.

Pupils struggle most in maths and science

The Times of India, Mar 18 2016

State of education; girls and boys; rural and urban; SC, ST, OBC, others; Government, aided and private schools; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Mar 18 2016

The notion that girls are not good with numbers and science is just a myth, if data from a nationwide survey of more than 2.7 lakh students is any indicator.The survey conducted on Class X students showed girls performed on an equal footing with boys in mathematics, science and social sciences. The study, however, upheld another common belief-that girls have better language skills. Girls outperformed boys in English and other lan guages in the survey conducted in 2015 by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 7,216 schools following different boards across 33 states and Union territories.

The study also highlighted rampant under-performance among students in rural settings, those studying in govern ment schools and hailing from underprivileged backgrounds such as Dalits and tribals.

Another disturbing trend was the poor showing in science and maths by students in a majority of states. Scores in science were below the national average in 24 states. In maths, the survey showed 21 states falling below the average. In general, students struggled the most in subjects that involved numerical problems and practicals.

The study also showed that a few states were far ahead of the rest. In mathematics, only four states and UTs performed way above the national average while students from 21 states and UTs were assessed to be significantly below the average.In science, as many as 24 states and UTs were below the national average even while a large variation was found in scores within states.

“The survey revealed that the majority of the states and UTs are performing below the overall average score in all subject areas... Low achievement is largely an outcome of lack of conceptual clarity and understanding,“ says the report.

On average, just 41% of the questions on English were answered correctly . In mathematics, the percentage was even less (40%). It was slightly better for science (43%) and social sciences (47%). It was only in modern Indian languages (MIL) that students on average managed to answer more than half the questions correctly (53.5%).

Shockingly , more than one-third of the students scored between 0 to 35%. Only 2% of them could score 75% and above in science and social studies while none could score as much in English and mathematics.

Among states, Karnataka performed the best, with students achieving scores significantly higher than the national average in four of the five subjects assessed. In English, the north-eastern states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim were among the seven best performers.

The report also summarised the performances of various central and state Boards -in subjects as well as range of correct answers.In English, the top three boards were ICSE, CBSE and Nagaland board while in mathematics, ICSE, CBSE and Odisha board had the highest scores.

In science and social science, too, ICSE students performed better than the rest. In MIL, West Bengal board students outperformed the rest.

Registered students in class XII

See graphic

Number of registered class XII students (in lakhs), state-wise; The Times of India, May 25, 2017


 SC: Common syllabus for all schools is ‘impossible’

SC: Common syllabus for all schools is ‘impossible, December 9, 2017: The Times of India

The Supreme Court said it was impossible to introduce a common syllabus for all schools across the country and dismissed a PIL seeking implementation of ‘one nation one education board’ policy.

“How can it be done? It is impossible,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said and dismissed the plea.

The petition, filed by a primary school teacher Neeta Upadhyay, said a common syllabus was required to provide a level playing field to all students. “In expounding the Constitution to meet the requirements of Articles 21A read with Articles 14, 15, 16, 38

(2), 39(F), 46 & 51A, measures such as a common education system, viz. common syllabus and curriculum, is a necessity. It would enable every child to be placed on a level playing field for the future challenges...,” the petition said.

“Sooner we realise the gravity of the situation and the ills that have been created due to multiple systems of education as currently prevalent in the country and introduce a common education system to meet national goals, the better it shall be for the future of the nation. Otherwise, chasm that has been created between rich and poor, reign of terror that has set in, events of looting and snatching that have started and crime against women that has taken the form of open threats will continue to rise and expand,” the petition added.

Teacher-student ratio


Pupil-teacher ratio in major states, 2014-15;
Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, September 8, 2016

See graphic:

Pupil-teacher ratio in major states, 2014-15

Number of teachers per school, 2016

The Times of India, Aug 09 2016

Yogesh Kumar

Over 1L schools in India have just one teacher

A report on single-teacher schools across the country , tabled in Parliament, has thrown up some alarming statistics on the education scenario in India. A solitary teacher is running the show in as many as 1.06 lakh government elementary and secondary schools in the country . Madhya Pradesh fares the worst, with 17,874 such schools. UP has the second-highest number of elementary and secondary schools -17,602 -where single teachers are performing the role of educators for multiple classes. UP is followed by Rajasthan (13,575), Andhra (9,540) and Jharkhand (7,391), according to the 2014-15 report of the HRD ministry that was tabled by MoS Upendra Kushwah.

No state can boast of having no single-teacher schools. UTs fare better, with Daman & Diu, Pondicherry , Chandigarh and Lakshadweep recording no single-teacher schools in two categories.Delhi has 13 such schools. Bihar, which was in the news after the infamous “topper scam“ surfaced in June, has 3,708 singleteacher schools.

The MHRD report comes close on the heels of a TOI report which had revealed that 41 primary and middle schools in Gurgaon are one-person wonders with teachers doubling up as administrators, clerks, caretakers, wardens, midday meal servers, nurses and sundry crisis managers. The report was based on a recent UDISE (unified district information for school education) survey , an annual exercise conducted by the state education department in association with Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

While successive central governments have stressed the right to education, the ground reality is far from the specified objectives, with states flouting norms of the RTE Act.


As in 2019

7% of teaching posts in govt schools vacant, September 19, 2020: The Times of India

Vacant teaching posts in govt schools in India, presumably as in 2019
From: 7% of teaching posts in govt schools vacant, September 19, 2020: The Times of India

A total of 17.1% of teaching posts in government schools are lying vacant. In terms of absolute number, the largest vacancies are in Bihar (2.7 lakh) followed by UP (2.1 lakh). Percentage-wise Sikkim with 57.5% vacancies has the highest vacancies, followed by Jharkhand, Bihar and UP.

Replying to a query in LS, education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said: “Recruitment of teachers is a continuous process and vacancies keep arising due to retirement and additional requirements on account of enhanced students’ strength.

6 states have over 20% of teachers posts vacant: Mantri

Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said, “Education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution. The recruitment, service conditions and deployment of teachers come under the purview of the concerned State/UT Government.” As per the data released by the ministry, there are six states with more than 20% vacancies which include Jharkhand (40.1%), Bihar (39.9%), UP (28.8%), Uttarakhand (24.3%) and Chhattisgarh (21.7).

There are around 62 lakh sanctioned posts in government schools in the country of which nearly 11 lakh posts lying vacant as of 2020-21 academic session. Among the states which have the lowest number of vacancies include Mizoram (no vacancy), Maharashtra (0.8%), Tamil Nadu (1.4%), Punjab (2.2%), Gujarat (2.6%), Nagaland (2.7%) and Kerala (2.8%). Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha and Meghalaya too have vacancy percentage lower than 5%.


Hiring and transfer of teachers

The Times of India

Jan 13 2015

Hiring, transfer of teachers politically motivated: Study

Akshaya Mukul

A significant study on teachers carried out in nine states shows that in most of these states, except Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the process of appointment of teachers and transfer policy is highly “opaque and politically motivated“. The two positive aspects emerging from the study are reversal of policy on hiring of contract teachers and adoption of Right to Education-recommended Teacher Eligibility Tests in all nine states. The report says in several states, there is a freeze on hiring of teachers on contract and all new recruitments of elementary teachers are on regu larpermanent terms.

The study, carried out jointly by the National University for Educational Planning and Administration and World Bank in Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, has stressed on flaws in the teacher recruitment policy . “States do not have a systematic or routine process for calculating how many teachers are needed, and what their specific qualifications and characteristics should be,“ it says.

In a few states, the report says, “Factors underlying recruitment are closely related to political interests, making teacher recruitment resemble political strategies rather than recruitment policies.“ For instance, in Rajasthan, the recruitment policy changes every year whereas in Punjab there is no policy whatsoever.

As for teacher transfer policies, the report says it is “rare in India“. Of the states studied, it exists only in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Odisha and MP , transfers are carried out through a series of government orders and guidelines and followed in letter and spirit. In other states like Rajasthan, the report says, “Transfers are given as rewards to politically helpful teachers.“

Uniforms/ dress code for Teachers

From the archives of The Times of India 2007, 2009

Dress code cannot be forced upon women teachers: HC

Kolkata: Can the Pablo Picasso painting Green Leaves and Bust, which sold for £70.3 million recently, be considered indecent, Justice Jayanta Biswas of Calcutta High Court wondered on Friday while ordering that managing committees of schools cannot impose a dress code on teachers.

At the same time, the judge observed, teachers should be careful about what they wear to school.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by 42-year-old Swati Purakayastha and six other teachers of Golapmohini Mallick Balika Vidyalaya in Singur, Hooghly. In 2008, the school management issued a memo directing teachers to wear white sarees on duty. The teachers moved court. TNN


HC: Only board-prescribed textbooks permitted

Abhinav Garg, March 28, 2019: The Times of India

Schools in Delhi must follow textbooks prescribed by CBSE, NCERT and the state board, Delhi high court said on Wednesday. Upholding a November 2018 circular by the directorate of education (DoE) for schools under its control, Justice C Hari Shankar dismissed a petition by a federation of private publishers.

The federation had challenged the circular that also fixed the weight of school bags. The circular said students should not be asked to bring additional books and extra material. During early hearings, the publishers dropped their challenge to the aspect of weight.

HC found it “piquant” that those assailing such a circular “for the supposed interests of students” were neither students, parents nor even the schools, “but an association of private publishers of textbooks”.

Declining any relief, the court said it “endorses the the effect that, in respect of subjects, for which textbooks have been prescribed by CBSE, and published by NCERT/SCERT/CBSE, the said prescription shall scrupulously be followed by all schools subject to the control of DoE.” For all schools affiliated to CBSE, syllabi and textbooks prescribed by the board “shall constitute the basis of imparting education, as well as evaluation, of all schools students from classes I to X”. HC found no error in the circular, which, in effect, is only a reiteration of law under RTE Act and Delhi School Education Act, it said.

“If, even in subjects for which textbooks have been published by NCERT, absolute liberty were to be granted to schools to prescribe textbooks, the very purpose of stipulating that the school may prescribe NCERT textbooks in classes and subjects in which these have been published by NCERT would stand totally defeated.” It is to attain this uniformity, to the extent possible, that CBSE has prescribed that if available, NCERT textbooks ought to be prescribed as the basic material to be taught to students, and on which they would be assessed, it observed.

The high court cautioned that “sowing of extreme and fundamentalist seeds, in impressionable and innocent minds, is not an unknown phenomenon today, and prescribing of common educational media is but a small step towards controlling this menace”.

Travel to school, mode of


Manash Pratim Gohain, 60% Indian kids go to school on foot: Survey, September 19, 2020: The Times of India

Around 60% of students in India go to their schools on foot with the number being significantly higher in rural areas and for primary and upper primary students. Overall, more girls walk to school (62%) than boys (57.9%). The second most preferred mode of travel is public transport (12.4%), followed by bicycle (11.3%), according to the National Statistical Organisation’s (NSO) report on education, reports Manash Pratim Gohain.

25% of secondary, senior secondary students cycle to school: Report

The report says threefourth of the primary and upper-primary students travel by foot, which comes down significantly in the secondary and above levels. Bicycles are a mode of transport for more than one fourth of students in secondary and senior secondary schools.

Distance of the institute from home, as seen during the survey, seems to be in sync with the mode of travel as 77% of the households have a pre-primary school within 2 km, 83.4% for primary and 75.3% for upper-primary, the levels where majority of the students travel on foot.

It reveals that while 61.4% male students from rural areas travel on foot, it is 49.4% for urban areas. In case of girls, it is 66.5% for rural areas and 50.8% for urban. For public transport, the survey included buses, trams, trains, metro trains and ferries and not taxicab, carpooling, or hired buses.

While use of bicycles is significantly higher among rural students (12.6%) as compared to 7.6% in urban areas, the survey found over 12% of urban students travel to schools by transport provided by the employers of their parents. The figure is 4% for rural students.

The report on “Household Social Consumption: Education”, surveyed 1.13 lakh households spread over 8,000 villages and 6,000 urban blocks between July, 2017 and June 2018. It involved 1.52 lakh students across different levels of study.

As per distribution of students by distance to educational institution, it finds that as the level of schooling goes up, number of schools in close proximity decreases. For example, while for 70.4% of the households have a school till upper-primary classes within one km range, it falls to 36.2% for secondary level and further to 22.2% for senior secondary level.

Women education

As in 2019

Manash Pratim Gohain, January 25, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Ten years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into being, nearly 40% of adolescent girls in the age group of 15-18 years are not attending school while 30% of girls from poorest families have never set foot in a classroom, according to status report.

According to the report by Right to Education Forum and Centre for Budget Policy Studies with support of the World Bank and UNICEF, poor compliance of RTE —12.7% across India— has been primarily due to the downward trend in financing school education which has come down from 4.14% in 2014-15 to 3.40% in 2019-20.

RTE Act of 2019 mandates compulsory education for children between the age of 6-14 years under Article 21A of the Constitution.

The report also cited that education and empowerment index are directly related to per-child expenditure. Kerala tops the index with a spending of Rs 11,574 per child per year with Bihar at the bottom with a spending of just Rs 2,869. Himachal Pradesh, with a spending of Rs 17,921 per child per year, features second among 17 large states.

The report released on the occasion of International Day of Education and National Girl Child Day on Friday stated that while Sustainable Development Goals seek to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, India is home to millions of ‘out-of-school’ children, with girls accounting for a substantial chunk. Raising concerns over the fact that girls are twice less likely as boys to receive at least four years of schooling, 30% of girls from the economically disadvantaged groups have never set foot inside a classroom. The literacy rate of women in India is only at 65%.

According to Ambarish Rai, national convenor, RTE Forum, with over 60 million children lacking education in India, insufficient funding for school education has been the bottleneck in achieving benefits under the RTE Act “which is an important tool for universalisation of elementary education”. “The status of girls’ education in the country is a matter of grave concern,” he said.

As per the report, studies have shown strong correlation between public investment in education and child development and empowerment. The report said each additional year of schooling raises earning by 8%-10% (with larger increase for women), meaning that education not only helps to grow the economy but also fight poverty.

Among the 17 states cited in the report, 11 states whose EEI has been 0.5 or more are those which spent Rs 6,000 or more per child annually.

Highlighting the fact that states alone cannot deal with the need for higher public expenditure to meet education goals laid out in the National Education Policy, the report raised concern over excessive dependence on education cess.

“Cess is an emergency and variable source of government funding meant to aid and cushion expenditure sources from tax revenue/ budgetary support. Since 2015, with the decline of budgetary support for education expenditure, cess funded 70% of the total education expenditure. This means that the emergency cess has become a regular way of funding,” it said.

Women educationists

2018: women vice-principals in most states

Hemali Chhapia and Vinamrata Borwankar, Crack in the glass ceiling: More women at top in school mgmts, September 6, 2018: The Times of India

Women principals and vice-principals in the various Indian states, presumably as in 2017
From: Hemali Chhapia and Vinamrata Borwankar, Crack in the glass ceiling: More women at top in school mgmts, September 6, 2018: The Times of India


School corridors bustle with women teachers across India, but a peek into the principal’s office is most likely to show a man at the helm of the institution. A study shows the glass ceiling is beginning to crack. Thirteen states and Union Territories have a higher or equal representation of women as designated or acting heads, viceprincipals and principals.

But a majority of the states, including Maharashtra, see more women as viceprincipals. “Interestingly, women are higher represented in 20 states as vice-principals,” said N Mythili, assistant professor at the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration and author of the research paper, ‘Representation of Women in School Leadership Positions in India’.

Eight UT & states bookended by Puducherry (88%) and Punjab (56%) show higher representation of women principals in primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. Most states are in 61-70% range when it comes to women principals, says her paper.

Maharashtra figures among the worst states. “Things seem to be changing. There are now many schools where they are particular that they want women as principals,” said Sunita George, principal of Bombay Scottish, Powai.

Some are trying to address the imbalance in innovative ways. “Many schools prefer to appoint men, available day in and day out, as a principal’s office is a powerful position requiring a lot of co-ordination with, say, bus contractors, unions, class four staffers. But a lot of schools now have dual positions: academics are handled by women principals and for handling other issues like bus drivers, etc, they appoint general managers,” said Swati Popat Vats, president of the Podar Education Network.

The factors coming in the way for women range from age-old resistance and sexist attitudes with many school managements refusing to have a woman lead it to a perceived higher degree of family commitments of women to the downright refusal of some women to take over leadership roles.

“When the opportunity arises, we have seen many women shy away from it. At our institute, we work to fight gender biases among school managements and trustees, as also have confidence building and leadership workshops for women to promote them to top posts,” said B Venkatesh Kumar, head of the Centre for Academic Leadership and Education Management.

Educators in the city feel the trend is changing and representation of women in leadership positions is improving. Father Francis Swamy, joint secretary, Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE) that has over 150 schools in the city, said: “The numbers are definitely increasing in urban areas. Women school heads in the rural parts might still be low because it continues to be a male-dominated sector and women might yet not be allowed to take up larger responsibilities.”

2019-20: women schoolteachers outnumber men

Sruthy Susan Ullas, July 5, 2021: The Times of India

BENGALURU: For the first time ever, women schoolteachers in India outnumber their male counterparts, according to the Unified District Information on School Education (U-DISE) report for 2019-20 released last week. Of the 96.8 lakh teachers in the country, 49.2 lakh are women. In 2012-13, there were 35.8 lakh women teachers across the country against 42.4 lakh men — marking a rise of more than 37% or 13 lakh over seven years. In the same period, the number of male teachers rose from 42.4 lakh to 47.7 lakh.

There is a catch, though: women teachers top the head count only at the primary level. The report points out that upper primary onwards, the number of male teachers continues to be higher.

At the pre-primary level, the number of women teachers stands at more than 1 lakh, compared with around 27,000 men. The ratio is more balanced in the primary grades, with 19.6 lakh women and 15.7 lakh male teachers. In the upper primary classes, there are 11.5 lakh male and 10.6 lakh women teachers. From then on, the gap increases. In secondary schools, there are 6.3 lakh men and 5.2 lakh women teachers. In higher secondary, it’s 3.7 lakh men to 2.8 lakh women.

In government and aided schools, the number of male teachers is higher while in private unaided schools, women teachers are ahead.

The trend of male teachers outnumbering women in higher grades is seen across states, with the exception of Kerala, Delhi, Meghalaya, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, among big states. In these states, the number of women teaching is higher than men even in secondary and higher secondary classes.

“Any dynamic and vital profession, and I consider teaching as one, must have an equitable distribution of men and women. Children need to learn from teachers who can offer a male as well as a female perspective. Undoubtedly in younger classes, many schools in India prefer women teachers, since they are seen to be more nurturing. However, I think it’s good for male teachers to demonstrate nurture too! Otherwise, we’re demonstrating a sexist bias in favour of women teachers,” said Maya Menon, founder director of Teacher Foundation.

“In higher classes, where the curricular load is heavier, traditionally both male and female teachers are sought after. There are also differential salaries in India between primary and secondary school teachers,” Menon said. This is not the case in other countries: all teachers regardless of the levels they teach require similar qualifications and, therefore, start with similar salaries. “Male teachers in India prefer to teach in secondary school because they get paid more, especially with government scales. Private schools that have more male teachers tend to be international schools where the pay is better than in other private schools,” she said.

The U-DISE report is released annually by the department of school education and literacy under the Union ministry of education.

Working days, vacations

220+ working days in Delhi

The Times of India, Jan 20 2016

220 working days must for schools: Govt

The Delhi government made it mandatory for all government as well as unaided recognised schools to run upper primary classes for at least 220 working days in an academic year. The Directorate of Education (DoE) in a communication to schools also notified schedule for summer, winter and autumn breaks, asking them to ensure strict compliance with the same.

“Section 19 of the RTE Act-2009 envisages that every recognized school has to observe a minimum of 220 working days for upper primary classes in an academic year.

“All the heads of the schools are directed to adhere to the provision laid down regarding working days,“ it said.

“It is pertinent to mention that at least 220 working days have to be completed in an academic year (April to March). Although the notified lists of gazetted and restricted holidays are for the calendar year (January to December),“ it added.

The DoE also said the heads of the government-aided and unaided recognized schools will be required to take approval of holidays from their respective managements.

See also

For sanitation in schools, please see : Sanitation: India

Education: India (covers issues common to all categories of Education) <>

Education, annual reports on the status of: India<>

Engineering education: India <>

Higher Education, India: 1 <>

Medical education and research: India <>

Primary Education: India <>

School education: India (covers issues common to Primary and Secondary Education) <>

Secondary Education: India <>

Indian universities: global ranking …and many more.

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