New Delhi: Succeeding on one count and faltering on another, the Central government’s ambitious educational project Right to Education (RTE) has indeed brought students back in the government schools but the condition of schools running in rural areas has witnessed a flip slide.

According to the ‘Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)’ for rural areas 2011 prepared by NGO Pratham, even if the enrollment of students have seen a remarkable progress with over 96 percent of new admissions between 6 and 14 age group, the overall presence of students has witnessed a sheer decline.

The survey report released by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday shows that the fashion of enrolling in private schools is no more confined to urban centres alone but the increasing number of children in rural areas also prefer the private ones.

The presence of students was found to be mere 71 percent in 2011 which was seen declining as compared to the 73.4 percent presence in 2007.

The literacy condition in government schools in Bihar and West Bengal is more deplorable.
Bihar was seen having the presence of only 50 percent of students in 2011 as compared to 59 percent mark in 2007. Uttar Pradesh has also witnessed a sheer decline with only 57.3 percent students found to be present in the rural schools in the state.

Out of the 96.7 percent of new admissions between the age group 6 and 14, 25.6 percent students were inclining towards private alternatives for their studies. In 2006, only 18.7 percent of students were studying in the private schools.

The numbers are even high in states like Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. 30-60 percent of students are availing studies in private schools in these states.
The current figure says that around 23.3 percent students enrolled in government schools were found taking private tuitions in 2011. It was only 22.5 percent in 2010.

The report said basic reading levels also showed a decline in many states across north India, with the number of children in class V able to read class II level dropped from 53.7 percent in 2010 to 48.2 percent in 2011.

Among class V children, it said the ability to do a similar subtraction problem has dropped from 70.9 percent in 2010 to 61 percent in 2011.'