Need for reforms

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) submitted its report on the 2020-2021 demand for grants for school education to the Rajya Sabha. In this report, the committee has made various observations on state of government schools in India.
  • Almost half the government schools in the country do not have electricity or playgrounds.
  • The budgetary allocations saw a 27% cut from proposals made by the School Education Department. Despite proposals for ₹82,570 crores, only ₹59,845 crores were allocated.
  • The panel expressed disappointment over the stark deficits in the government school infrastructure.
  • Only 56% of schools have electricity, with the lowest rates in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh, where less than 20% have access to power.
  • As per UDISE survey, less than 57% of schools have playgrounds, including less than 30% of schools in Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • There is slow progress in building classrooms, labs and libraries to strengthen government higher secondary schools.
  • Overall, for the core Samagra Shiksha Scheme, the department had only spent 71% of revised estimates by December 31, 2019.
  • India is also dealing with a scenario of significant teacher vacancies, which are to the tune of almost 60-70 per cent in some states.
  • The learning crisis is evident in the fact that almost half of the children in grade 5 in rural India cannot solve a simple two-digit subtraction problem, while 67 per cent of children in grade 8 in public schools score less than 50 per cent in competency-based assessments in mathematics.