Few takers for state schools: Survey
PATNA: Arun Kumar: Sixty-five per cent of all Patna households have enrolled their wards in private unaided schools, with just 34% in government schools, says a very revealing survey, just released.
The comprehensive survey, which covered all 72 wards of Patna over a period of one year concludes that 70% of all parents, whose wards study in government schools, would prefer sending their children to private unaided schools if they could afford it. More than half the respondents do not think, that government schools impart quality education!
The survey was jointly conducted by the India Institute’, New Delhi and EG West Centre, Newcastle University, UK, with the approval of the government of Bihar. It underlined facts contrary to government statistics reflected in the district information system for education (DISE) of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA).
Titled ‘The private school revolution in Bihar’, the study, undertaken by Baladevan Rangaraju, Professor James Tooley and Dr Pauline Dixon over a period of one year, has found that Patna has over 1,574 schools – government, private aided and private unaided against DISE statistics for just 350 schools. The study shows that three-quarters of the schools were excluded from DISE, which reflects omission of 2,38,767 school-going children out of 3,33,776!
The report, which used the global positioning system (GPS) technology to locate the spread of private schools in Patna, says that most of the missing schools are the unrecognised ones, which charge low fee and cater to the poor and low middle class, and are clustered around government schools. The survey was supplemented by household survey. Under the right to education act, 2009, which came into force in 2010, the unrecognised schools will be closed down if they fail to conform to the laid down parameters within three years, i.e. April 2013. The report has says this could not be the answer, as the private unaided schools make up for around 78% of the schools in Patna only and the trend could be similar in other parts of the state.
“Rather, there should be a graded system for recognition, with relaxation in infrastructural norms. The recognition should be based on learning outcomes of children through simple tests. The priority should be to reform government schools, but until that happens why penalize the poor by taking away one choice,” poses the report. Classifying private unaided schools into three categories – based on their monthly fee levels, the report highlights, that 69% of the private unaided schools are low cost, 22% affordable and only 9% high cost.
“GPS mapping showed, that there existed hardly a road or a street in Patna without a private school. Significantly, the number of private schools within 1 km radius of a government schools ranged between 9 and 93,” says Rangaraju, a native of Pondicherry.
“What is significant is the finding, that almost one-fifth of the parents, whose children were in unrecognized schools, were confident of getting a transfer certificate from a recognized school or a government school as and when they required. Many had enrolled in government schools, but were actually attending private unaided schools,” it added.