The Telegraph
Thursday , February 20 , 2014
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More kids going to school: Report

Imphal, Feb. 19: School enrolment in the 6-14 age group continues to be high, but there is a steady increase in private school enrolment in Manipur, according to the Annual Status of Education Report, 2013.

“In Manipur, 98.5 per cent of children in the 6-14 age group are enrolled in schools. This is the fifth consecutive year that enrolment levels have been 96 per cent or more,” said economist N. Mohendro Singh, who released the report here today. The report said the all-India figure was 96 per cent.

The report said enrolment in private schools increased to 70.5 per cent. The percentage was only 58.7 per cent in 2006.

The study covered 189 schools in 242 villages (including schools with no villages) in all the nine districts. Survey teams tested 10, 015 school children (3-16) for their knowledge level.

The report said the learning level of the children had increased.

In Manipur and Kerala, more than two thirds of the children in the same age group are enrolled in private schools and in Manipur 38.2 per cent of students in Classes I-V paid private tuition fees.

Altogether 2.3 per cent of girls in the 11-14 age group are not enrolled in schools in Manipur.

The report said the proportion of schools that complied with the RTE pupil-teacher ratio norms had increased every year. However, the classroom-teacher ratio had decreased in the past few years.

“This year, in 14 states, midday meals were served in more than 90 per cent of the schools visited. However, in Manipur, only 40.3 per cent of the schools visited served midday meals on the day of the visit, which is a decrease from 2010’s 47.8 per cent,” it said.

“Shifting of students from government schools to private schools cannot be stopped. Parents choose private sch-ools because they see better teaching and infrastructure there,” Mohendro Singh said.

Mohendro Singh, also a former member of the steering committee, North East Region Vision 2020, called for a policy for primary education as this was the most important stage in the future of a child.

“There should be a vision for primary education. Our culture, civilisation and social realities should be taught to children. Best teachers should be recruited. The spirit of competitiveness and personality should be developed as personality is an integrated response to a challenging future,” he said.

He observed that majority of the school going children in Manipur lacked self-confidence.

Mohendro Singh demanded that the state Assembly should discuss the survey report, as was done by the Parliament, to make corrective measures and corporate the findings into planning.