Schools Infra Up, Dropout Rates Down: Economic Survey
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that there has been a steady decline in school dropout rates at all levels in the recent years, citing the schemes such as Samagra Shiksha, RTE Act, improvement in school infrastructure and facilities, residential hostel buildings and other facilities as a major factor in retention of children in schools.
While presenting the Economic Survey 2022-23 in the Parliament, the minister also informed that the year FY22 saw improvement in Gross Enrolment Ratios (GER) in schools and improvement in gender parity.
She said that the improvement has reversed the declining trends between FY17 and FY19. GER in Upper Primary (enrolment in class VI to VIII as a per cent of the population in age 11-13 years), which was stagnant between FY17 and FY19, improved in FY22. In corresponding age groups in Primary and Upper-Primary levels, girls’ GER is better than boys.
While stating the data she said, “In FY22, school enrolment stood at 26.5 crore children with 19.4 lakh additional children enrolled in Primary to Higher Secondary levels. Total enrolment of Children with Special Needs (CWSN) in FY22 stands at 22.7 lakh as compared to 21.9 lakh in FY21, which is an increase of 3.3 per cent.”
According to the Survey, the basic infrastructure in schools has also showed an improvement in FY22.
“The availability of teachers, measured by pupil-teacher ratio has improved at all levels continuously from FY13 to FY22: from 34.0 to 26.2 at Primary, 23.0 to 19.6 at Upper Primary, 30.0 to 17.6 at Secondary, and 39.0 to 27.1 at the Higher Secondary level. The improvement in the number of schools, teachers’ availability, and facilities in schools is expected to help improve enrolment and reduce dropout rates,” it stated.
Meanwhile, she said that the total enrolment in higher education has increased to nearly 4.1 crore in FY21 from 3.9 crore in FY20. Since FY15, there has been an increase of around 72 lakh in enrolment (21 per cent). The female enrolment has increased to 2.0 crore in FY21 from 1.9 crore in FY20.
“Number of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), respectively stand at 23 and 20 in 2022 against 16 and 13 in 2014. The strength of Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) is 25 in 2022 against 9 in 2014,” the minister added.
The enrolment in Distance Education is 45.7 lakh (with 20.9 lakh females), an increase of around 7 per cent since FY20 and 20 per cent since FY15.
The survey appreciated the various initiatives for Higher education including Research & Development Cell (RDC) in Higher Education Institutions, Guidelines for pursuing two academic programmes simultaneously, Interest subsidy on education loan.
Various programmes and schemes for school education launched during FY23 are as follows:
PM Schools for Rising India
The government launched a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) called PM Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) on September 7, 2022. Under the scheme, there is a provision for setting up more than 14,500 PM SHRI Schools, over the period FY23 to FY27 by strengthening the existing schools from those managed by Central Government/State/UT Government/local bodies. These schools will be equipped with modern infrastructure and showcase the implementation of the NEP and emerge as exemplary schools over a period of time, while offering leadership to other schools in the neighbourhood. More than 20 lakh students are expected to be direct beneficiaries of the scheme.
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for Foundational Stage
National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for Foundational Stage has been launched as the new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure which integrates early childhood care and education for all children of ages 3 to 8.
Pilot project of Balvatika
With a focus on developing cognitive, affective, and psychomotor abilities and also early literacy and numeracy for students in the age groups of 3+, 4+ and 5+ years, Project Balvatika, was launched in October 2022 in 49 Kendriya Vidyalayas.
Samagra Shiksha Scheme
An overarching programme for the school education sector, extending from pre-school to class XII. The Samagra Shiksha Scheme has been aligned with the recommendations of the NEP 2020 and extended from FY22 to FY26.