Survey reveals grim condition of School Education in Maharashtra

A survey conducted by CBGA, CRY says 40 percent of the education budget is being spent on private schools in Maharashtra. The study by the Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability (CBGA) and Child Relief and You (CRY) claims that even though 69 percent of all elementary schools are government-run, the major share of state spending goes to private-aided and private-unaided schools in Maharashtra.

This portion has remained almost unchanged for four years. This ‘mismatch’ in budgetary provisions affects the quality of education in government schools, claimed the study, adding the situation is worse in secondary schools.

“Owing to the lack of government-run secondary schools and their poor quality of education, students either drop out or are forced to join private schools after their primary education,” said Protiva Kundu, a researcher from CBGA.

For every 100 schools in the state, only 21 offer secondary education, out of which two are government-run. Seven of them offer higher education, of which only one is government-run.

With the government running just 7.7 percent of schools, private-aided schools formed 65.1 percent of all secondary schools, while private-unaided formed 27.2 percent.

“The deteriorating quality of learning in government schools is a serious issue in public provisioning for the education sector,” read the report, released Tuesday.

The budgetary allocation for education in 10 states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh was researched. Data from three consecutive years was collected through funds disbursed by the Central or state departments. (Read here: BIMARU States need to focus on Education)

Maharashtra’s total budgetary spending on education has remained stagnant at 18 percent over the past three years, reveals the study. It is the highest in the 10 states. The state is spending more than Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But the state’s spending on each child, Rs 28,630, is less than that of the centrally-run Kendriya Vidyalayas at Rs 32,263 a student.

The study highlights the fact that Maharashtra has fewer government schools despite increasing the spending by 32 percent in elementary education and 43 percent in secondary education.

While Maharashtra has total 24 percent of children from socio-economically weaker sections (SC/ST) among its school-going population, the exclusive allocation on educational schemes for the marginalized population is merely 1.9% of the school education budget.

(Read here: Maharashtra government to provide English medium education to ST students)

“More investment is required for addressing existing gaps and meeting the desired outcome for RTE standards on infrastructure and quality of teaching and learning,” said Kreeanne Rabadi, Regional director (West) CRY.

The state is also not spending enough on teachers’ training and in educating the marginalized population.

Rs 740 crore were invested in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rs 180 crore towards computer training, along with an outlay of Rs 137.44 crore for quality education to secondary school students. For girls hostels, Rs 50 crore was earmarked. However, only 0.4 percent of the school education budget was earmarked for teacher training. Inspection and monitoring, too, took a backseat with 0.5 percent allocation. Teachers’ salary formed the biggest component of the budget with 69 percent.

“While teachers’ salaries are being taken care of, hardly any public funds are kept for training the teachers. This further affects the quality of education,” said Kundu.

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