Harming Vulnerable Children


A remarkable change has been made in the last few days for the final year students (class 12) of the school. Under the new education policy, 2020, it was decided to conduct general entrance examination 'CUET' for admission in inter-graduation in 53 central universities of the country, under which the admission process is still going on. The purpose of this examination is to provide equal opportunity to all children for admission in higher education. Since the path to admission in a good college will determine the marks in this exam, it will matter to what extent the parents get their children well-educated to prepare them.
The question is, what does our experience say about the quality of schooling in India and the need for additional educational help through private tuition? Let's try to understand this from the data of 75th round of National Sample Survey. It surveyed 1,09,595 school children aged six to 18 years in 2017-18. According to it, only 35 per cent children were studying in government schools in cities, while in rural areas the figure was 72 per cent. About 32 per cent of parents who teach their children in private schools cited the plight of education in government schools as the biggest reason, while another five per cent said it was the second main reason.
Today, in addition to school fees and other related expenses, parents also pay for 'shadow schooling' or private tuition, so that their child does not lag behind. When we look at the expenditure incurred on tuition, we find that in 2017-18, about 31 per cent children in the age group of 15 to 18 went to coaching institutes in government schools, whereas in the case of private schools this figure Was 24.5 per cent. This is the age when preparation for competitive and board examinations for admission in higher education institutions usually begins.
Personal coaching is also determined by the socio-economic status of the parents. Not only sound education but his alertness and dedication too are most required. Do The ratio of children's enrollment in tuition and their mothers' education seems to be inverted 'U' (English letter U) shape. That is, among the 15 to 18 year olds studying in private schools, the percentage of children going to private coaching institutes was the lowest (13 per cent) whose mothers have completed higher secondary education or above. This means that educated mothers are able to help their children with school work.
Even in Government schools, where on the one hand there is an inverted 'U' relationship between the education of mothers and the enrollment of children in private coaching, on the other hand the ability to teach also emerges as a big factor.
The mothers of children who did not complete primary school saw lower enrollment rates in private coaching, while the average annual expenditure was just over Rs. This amount was not even one third of the average expenditure of a child in private schools. Not only that, parents of children in private schools spend about 40 per cent more on tuition than in Government schools. That is, considering quality education and expenses etc., it can be said that students of private schools are in a better position than students of government schools in terms of preparation for competitive examinations.
As such, how can it be ensured that coaching centers do not grow like mushrooms in the name of preparing for CUET exams like engineering or medical, which can not only weaken the education system, but also the students in low quality schools? And can also affect poor students.
However, they are already suffering significant losses.
(Writer is a Retired Principal & Educationist. Views expressed are personal)

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