The Annual Status of Education Report 2021 was unveiled this week. It’s the 16th iteration of the report brought out by an NGO, Pratham, and is based on surveys of children in the 5-16 age group. It provides useful data on the change in the school education landscape across rural India.
The 2021 report was based on surveys carried out about 18 months after the first lockdown. It explores multiple dimensions. Two of the findings, in particular, call for more study and attention among education policy makers.
There’s a marked drop in enrolment for children in the 6-10 age group. It was 1.8% in 2018 and increased to 5.3% in 2020. Also, the enrolment in government schools has increased on an all-India basis, even though there are wide inter-state variations. The shift back to government schools reverses a decade-long trend where private school enrolment kept growing at the expense of government schools.
Some of the trends may be temporary as the pandemic disrupted the entire education system and also had a negative impact on the earnings of many households. However, it does require careful monitoring to make sure the last 18 months have not reversed the long-term gains in school education.
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