Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Issues with school enrolment in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- Issues with school education in India


Proportion of children attending the government schools has been on the decline. This has several implications.

Issues with school education in India

  • A quality, free and regular school education represents our most potent infrastructure of opportunity, a fundamental duty of the state.
  • Meritocracy represents the idea that people should advance based on their talents and efforts.
  • But India’s meritocracy is sabotaged by flailing government schools.
  • The proportion of India’s children attending a government school has now declined to 45 per cent.
  • This number is 85 per cent in America, 90 per cent in England, and 95 per cent in Japan.
  • India’s 100 per cent plus school enrolment masks challenges; a huge dropout ratio and poor learning outcomes.
  • We have too many schools and 4 lakh have less than 50 students (70 per cent of schools in Rajasthan, Karnataka, J&K, and Uttarakhand).
  • China has similar total student numbers with 30 per cent of our school numbers.

It is not Government Vs. Private schools

  • Demand for better government schools is not an argument against private schools.
  • Because, without this market response to demand, the post-1947 policy errors in primary education would have been catastrophic for India’s human capital.

Way forward

  • We need the difficult reforms of governance, performance management, and English instruction.
  • Governance must shift from control of resources to learning outcomes; learning design, responsiveness, teacher management, community relationships, integrity, fair decision making, and financial sustainability.
  • Performance management, currently equated with teacher attendance, needs evaluation of scores, skills, competence and classroom management. Scores need continuous assessments or end-of-year exams.
  • The new world of work redefines employability to include the 3Rs of reading, writing, and arithmetic and a fourth R of relationships.
  • India’s farm to non-farm transition is not happening to factories but to sales and customer services which need 4R competency and English awareness.
  • English instruction is about bilingualism, higher education pathways, and employability.
  • Employment outcomes are 50 per cent higher for kids with English familiarity because of higher geographic mobility, sector mobility, role eligibility, and entrance exam ease.
  • India’s constitution wrote Education Policy into Lists I (Centre), II (State), and III (concurrent jurisdiction); this fragmentation needs revisiting because it tends to concentrate decisions that should be made locally in Delhi or state capitals.


Government needs urgent measure to addreess the issues which has bearing on its future.

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