Computing Uncomputed Indicators in Response to NEP 2020 [Full Length PDF]

Computing Uncomputed Indicators in Response to NEP 2020 Recommendations
A Case of Samagra Shiksha, 2021-22

Arun C Mehta
Former Professor & Head of EMIS Department
NIEPA, New Delhi


The National Educational Policy (NEP 2020) has recommended several changes for school education that have far-reaching implications, one of which is restructuring the composition of school education. Till recently, the Primary education level in India consisted of Grades 1 to 5 (corresponding age group 6+ to 10+ years), the Upper Primary level consisted of Grades 6 to 8 (age group 11+ to 13+ years), Secondary (Grades 9 & 10/14+ to 15+ years) and Higher Secondary level of education consisted of Grades 11 & 12/16+ to 17+ years.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020: The New School Education Structure

Instead of present levels, the NEP 2020 proposed

  • Foundational stage of school education (3 years of Pre-primary education including Grades 1 and 2 with corresponding age groups 3+ to 7+ years)
  • The Preparatory phase consists of 3 years, i.e., Grades 3, 4 and 5
  • Middle school education of 3 years (Grades 6, 7, and 8); and
  • The Secondary education phase of 4 years consists of Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. The corresponding clientele age groups of these phases would be Phase I (3+ to 7+ years), Phase II (8+ to 10+ years), Phase III (11+ to 13+ years), and Phase IV (14+ to 17+ years).

Meaning of Universalisation

Universalization of school education in India means universal access (schooling facilities to all), universal participation (all children enrolled), universal retention (all children retained and transit from one level to another), and universal quality of education (meeting satisfying criteria of minimum levels of learning).

New phases would change the meaning of universal school education in India.  A new set of indicators are required to know where we stand and monitor progress. At present, the status of universalization of school education in India is viewed through a set of indicators such as Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Age-specific & Adjusted-Net Enrolment Ratios, Grade-to-Grade dropout, promotion and repetition rates, average annual dropout rate, retention & transition rates, and a set of quality of education indicators. Because of changes recommended in NEP (2020), the meaning of most of these indicators and their implication for planning universalization will change. Instead of the present 6+ to 18 years age group, the new system would have 3+ to 18 as its clientele, thus meaning school education in India would have 17 years instead of the current 14 years.

New Foundation and Preparatory phase indicators are required to construct in line with the existing set of indicators. However, there is no implication for the third Middle school phase, which consists of Grades 6, 7, and 8, similar to the existing Upper Primary level of education, and the 4th phase is the combination of the existing Secondary and Higher Secondary levels of education and renamed as Secondary education phase.

For the Universal Foundational Stage, Gross, Net, and other enrollment-based indicators for the clientele population of 3 to 7+ years are required to assess children’s participation. Universalization means enrolling all children of 3 to 7+ years in corresponding grades, i.e., pre-primary to Grades 1 and 2, would be a necessary condition, but that itself will not serve the purpose unless children who enter into the system (through the first year of 3 years of pre-primary education)  are retained, move from one grade to another and finally reach and complete Grade 2.

The primary condition of universalization would be to enroll all children of age 3, for which the entry rate is required to compute. A 100 percent entry rate (Net) will be required to achieve the goal of a universal foundation.  Grade-to-grade dropout, promotion, and repetition, if any, will be required to compute between each of the five years of the foundation stage. Additionally, the transition rate from the Foundational stage to the Preparatory, the Preparatory to the Middle, Middle to the Secondary phase, and the retention rate at all these phases will be required to compute. The retention rate presents information about the retaining capacity of the system, which is, unless brought to 100, the dream of universalization may not be cherished.

Similarly, the enrolment ratio at the Preparatory phase consisting of Grades 3, 4 & 5 with the corresponding clientele age group 8+ to 10+ years is required to be worked out. Universalization at this phase means all children of age group 8 to 10 years are enrolled in corresponding grades, i.e., Grades 3, 4 & 5, but that would depend upon how many phase one graduates (those who successfully reach Grade 2) system will be producing and transit to the first grade, i.e., Grade 3 of next phase, i.e., Phase 2, Preparatory phase.

Data Requirements to Compute Indicators

It may also be interesting to know that enrolment in the absolute form and relevant age-specific child population is required to compute enrollment-based indicators. Though enrolment is available from the U-DISE, the actual age-specific population is available from the Census of India, which is the latest available for 2011. However, the projected child population from 2011 to 2036, both aggregate and single-age, is made available by the Technical Group on Population

Table 1: Phase-specific Details of Indicators Computed: 2021-22

net Coverage Age Group Indicators Computed


Phase I. Foundational Stage of School Education

(5 years)

Part I.  Early Childhood Education Programme in Pre-primary/Anganwadi/Balvatika

Part II. Early Primary Education Programme in School, Grades 1 & 2

Age 3 to 6 years




Age 6 to 7 Years


Distributed enrolment as per the restructured phases

Gross Entry Rate: Boys/Girls/Total

Net Entry Rate: Boys/Girls/Total

% Grade 1 Enrolment with pre-primary experience

% Distribution of Grade I enrolment by previous experience: Pre-primary/Another school/Anganwadi/ECCE

Gender Parity Index

%age of Enrolment: Gender-specific

 Enrolment Ratio: Boyd/Girls/Total

Gross Enrolment Ratio

Net enrolment Ratio

Adjusted-Enrolment Ratio

Age-specific Enrolment Ratio

 Flow Rates:  Boys/Girls/Total

Average Annual Dropout, Repetition & Promotion Rates

Transition Rates: Boys/Girls/Total

Retention Rates: Boys/Girls/Total

Preparatory Phase (1 to 5), Middle Phase (1 to 8) & Secondary Phase (1 to12)

Projected Child Population: Boys/Girls/Total
3 to 5, 6 to7, 8 to 10, 11 to 13 & 14 to 17 years:






Phase II. Preparatory Stage

(3 years)

Grades 3, 4 & 5 Age 8 to 10 years


Phase III. Middle School Stage

(3 years)

Grades 6, 7, & 8 Age 11 to 13 years


Phase IV. Secondary Stage

(4 years)

Grades 9, 10, 11, & 12 Age 14 to 17 years


Source of Data

The raw data to compute indicators per the restructured phases of school education can be exclusively based on UDISE+ data. All relevant data is available except for net enrolment of 3 to 5 years in ECCE. Indicators must be computed separately for boys and girls and all disaggregated levels, such as block, district, state, and all-India levels. District Annual Work Plan & Budget must analyze indicators per the four phases of restructured schol education.

Projections constituted by the National Commission on Population, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India (July 2020), may be used in working out enrolment-based indicators.

Only the state-specific and all-India projections are made available in the benchmark years, namely 2016, 2021, 2026, 2031, and 2036. Of late, the Ministry of Education has also started using these projections. Using the projected child population, one can compute indicators given

the change in the school structure because of the NEP 2020. The population in any intermediary year can be obtained based on the compound growth rates. However, indicators below the state level, i.e., district and block levels, are not possible to construct, without which one has to make own projections at these levels.

The Present Article

Even after three years of implementation, the Official Statistics still present enrolment and indicators as per the then levels of education, such as primary, upper primary, secondary, and higher secondary education. Even though some modifications are suggested in the Annual Work Plan and Budget under Samagra Shiksha, neither the UDISE+ data present the data as per the modified structure, nor the district plan analysis & indicators are focussed on the modified structure.

As has already been mentioned above, given the structural changes in the school sector, there is a need to relook into the existing indicators. In this article, an attempt has been made to explore possibilities to look at the existing indicators and construct them as per the new restructured phases of education. The enrolment is also redistributed as per the restructured phases.

The official enrolment data published through the UDISE+ is used to compute indicators. Official projected child population (Expert Committee) had been used to compute a variety of enrolment ratios, including the NER, adjusted-NER, and age-specific enrolment ratios at different phases of school education. Perhaps this is the first attempt through which indicators are computed as per the modified structure.

A note presenting details of the child projections has been annexed.

Table 1 presents the details of the indicators computed. It is possible to compute necessary indicators based on the data available in the public domain through UDISE+. Indicators are computed only at the all-India level; all such indicators are possible to compute at the sub-national level.

In a nutshell, the main objectives of the present article are to:

  • Redistribute the enrolment as per the new restructured phases of school education
  • To estimate the child population based on the official projections as per the restructured phases
  • To review the existing indicators and explore whether new indicators are required as per the restructured school education sector/phases; and
  • To compute a set of indicators falling under the universal enrolment & retention concerning all phases of restructured school education.

The emphasis is on the computation of indicators through the demonstration. Before we discuss enrolment in different phases, first grade-specific enrolment in Grades 1 to 12, along with the number of repeaters, is presented in Table 2. India had a total enrolment of  255.74 million in 2021-22, of which boys constitute 51.94 percent and girls 48.06 percent, thus giving a Gender parity Index of  925 girls per thousand 1,000 boys.

Table 2: Grade-specific Enrolment & Repeaters, 2020-21 & 2021-22



Enrolment, 2021-22 Repeaters, 2021-22
Girls Boys Total Girls Boys Total
Pre-Primary 4443684 5051523 9495207
I 11509190 12670963 24180153 59109 45734 104843
II 11392653 12447253 23839906 55392 41221 96613
III 12014805 12986499 25001304 57045 42328 99373
IV 11858010 12862354 24720364 55262 41112 96374
V 11549937 12550586 24100523 77289 81249 158538
VI 10904266 11732632 22636898 78584 79996 158580
VII 10704368 11433633 22138001 80334 77207 157541
VIII 10670308 11345485 22015793 79196 79583 158779
IX 9490065 10295662 19785727 109398 121101 230499
X 8966648 9776256 18742904 90490 99426 189916
XI 7336609 7912717 15249326 69805 67671 137476
XII 6494709 6835015 13329724 69304 72827 142131
Total 122891568 132849055 255740623 881208 849455 1730663

           Source: UDISE+ 2020-21 & 2021-22 enrolment data.

 Enrolment by Restructured Phases

The 2021-22 enrolment data is presented in Table 3 as per the four phases described above, which aligns with the NEP 2020 recommendation. The data has been presented for the year 2020-21 and 2021-22. It may be recalled that the first phase, namely the Foundational stage of school education, has two parts, namely Part I: Early Childhood Education Programme in Pre-primary/Anganwadi/Balvatika consisting of three years and  Part II: Early Primary Education Programme in school, Grades 1 & 2 consisting two years with a total of five years of Foundational stage.

The current grade-specific enrolment presented in Table 2 above is redistributed as per the new phases. Table 3 reveals a total enrolment of 10.64 million in Pre-primary/Anganwadi/Balvatika in the year 2020-21, which during the following year, i.e., 2021-22, declined to 9.50 million; the decline may be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic maybe parents had deferred admission of their wards.

The second stage of the Foundational stage is the Early Primary Education Programme in schools consisting of Grades 1 & 2, which had a total enrolment of 48.02 million in 2021-22, of which  50.35 percent (24.18 million) alone is of Grade I; the rest children in the Foundational stage are the students of Grade 1 in the previous year who are promoted to Grade 2, the following year, i.e., 2021-22. The enrolment data in this phase further shows a decline of 353 thousand over the previous year.

Table 3: Enrolment Distributed by Different Phases of School Education
2020-21 & 2021-22

Phase Corresponding Enrolment


2020-21 2021-22 Change over the Previous Year
Phase I: Foundational Stage of School Education (5 years) ECCE 10645526 9495207


Grades 1 to 2 48372778 48020059 -3,52,719
Total Foundational Stage (5 years) 59018304 57515266 -1503038
Phase II. Preparatory stage (3 years) Grades 3 to 5



73648513 73822191 1,73,678
Phase III. Middle School Stage (3 years) Grades 6 to 8 65854199 66790692 9,36,493
Phase IV. Secondary stage (4 years) Grades 9 to 12 65928971 67107681 11,78,710
Total without Pre-Primary Grades 1 to 12 253804461 255740623 19,36,162
Total with Pre-Primary Pre-Primary to Grade 12 264449987 265235830 7,85,843

 Note: Redistributed based on UDISE+ 2020-21 & 2021-22 enrolment data.

The next Phase, II, is the Preparatory stage consisting of Grades 3 to 5 (3 years), which were earlier part of the primary level of education. Thus the primary level is bifurcated into new Phases I and II, consisting of Grades 1 and 2 & Grades 3 to 5, respectively. Unlike the Foundational stage, enrolment at the Preparatory phase increased marginally by 174 thousand in 2021-22, with a total enrolment of 73.82 million.

The next Phase III, the Middle school stage consisting of 3 years, is, in fact, the Upper Primary level of the previous structure, consisting of Grades 6 to 8. This phase has a total enrolment of 66.79 million in 2021-22, showing an increase of 936 thousand over the previous 2020-21.

The next Phase, IV, the Secondary stage, consists of 4 years and is, in fact, the combination of previous secondary and higher secondary levels of education. It has a total enrolment of 67.11 million in 2021-22, showing an increase of 1.18 million over the previous year.

With ECCE, India had 265.24 million enrolment in  ECCE to Grade 12 in 2021-22, as against 264.45 million in the previous year. Enrolment in different Phases further reveals that except Phase I of the Foundational stage, the rest of the phases show a marginal increase in enrolment in 2021-22 during the previous year.

The gender-specific enrolment is presented in Table 4.

 Table 4: Enrolment Distributed by Gender, Different Phases of School Education: 2020-21 & 2021-22

Phase Girls Change


Boys Change


2020-21 2021-22 2020-21 2021-22
ECCE 4942317 4443684 -498633 5703209 5051523 -651686
Grades I to II 23144010 22901843 -242167 25228768 25118216 -110552
Total Foundational 28086327 27345527 -740800 30931977 30169739 -762238
Grades 3 to 5 35347630 35422752 75122 38300883 38399439 98556
Grades VI to VIII 31889045 32278942 389897 33965154 34511750 546596
Grades IX to XII 31691946 32288031 596085 34237025 34819650 582625
Grades I to XII 122072631 122891568 818937 131731830 132849055 1117225
With Pre-primary 127014948 127335252 320304 137435039 137900578 465539

Note: Redistributed based on UDISE+ 2020-21 & 2021-22 enrolment data.

Projected Child Population

An attempt has been made in the present article to explore and work out all possible indicators in the case of each of the four restructured phases. One set of such indicators falls under the enrolment ratio, which needs an age-specific child population as per the specification of a phase. It may be observed that the last Census was conducted in the year 2011, and since the 2021 Census is delayed because of COVID-19, there is no option but to use the projected child population in a year in which an indicator is required to be worked out.

Both for the Country as a whole and state-wise, the Report of the Technical Group On Population Proiecttons entitled Population Projections for India and States: 2011–2036, released in July 2020, by the National Commission on Population, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi is available which is based up to the 2011 Census and presents projected population on the quinquennial basis, i.e., 2016, 2021, 2026, 2031 and 2036. The total male and female population, as well as the population in different age groups and the single-age population, is available through the report of the Technical Group, which is good enough to compute the enrolment ratio as the child population made available by the Technical Group is available in the ready to use form.

Since the UDISE+ is the latest available for the year 2021-22, phase-wise enrolment ratios need the corresponding child population in the year 2021, which is estimated by using the projections made available by the Technical Group as described above and presented below in Table 5. Details are annexed, which the state-level planning officers find useful.

Table 5: Child Population corresponding to Different Phases of School Education, 2021

Phase Grades Corresponding Age Groups

(In Years)

Sex Ratio: Child Population

(Females per thousand Males)

Projected Population, 2021 (In thousand)
Total Male Females
Foundational Stage ECCE 3 to 5 910 69293 36285 33007
Grades I to II 6 to 7 884 47,099 25,001 22,098
ECCE+ Grades I & II 3 to 7 899 116392 61286 55105
Preparatory Phase Grades III to V 8 to 10 902 70,743 37,200 33,544
Middle Phase Grades VI to VIII 11 to 13 931 70,550 36,539 34,012
Secondary Phase Grades IX to XII 14 to 17 931 98,072 51,075 46,997
Total from Pre-primary to Grade XII Pre-Primary to Grade XII 3 to 17 912 3,55,757 1,86,100 1,69,658
Total I to XII Grades I to XII 6 to 17 912 2,86,464 1,49,815 1,36,651

Source: Estimated based on Population Projections for India and States: 2011-2036, Report of the Technical Group on Population Protections, National Commission on Population, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi, July 2020.  

The Clientele Population: 2021

Table 5 indicates a total of 116.4  million population in the age group 3 to 7 years corresponding to the Foundational stage as against a total of  70.74 million for the Preparatory, 70.6 million for the Middle, and 98.1 million for the Secondary phase, which gives a total of 355.8 million for the entire restructured school education consisting of Pre-school to Grade 12 in the year 2021. It may be recalled that without the pre-school, the previous structure consisting of Grades 1 to 12 would have had a total child population of 284.6 million in 2021-22. The restructured school sector now has an additional 69.3 million students, which is more than 24 percent of the clientele population previously, with the Foundational stage the lion’s share (116.4 million).

A cursory look at Table 5 further reveals that there are more boys than girls in the case of the age groups corresponding to each of the four restructured phases, which is indicated in the child sex ratio.

Enrolment Ratio

With the projected child population (Table 5) and corresponding redistributed enrolment, let us now compute the enrolment ratio at different phases of the school education.

The enrolment ratio, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), is obtained by considering the total enrolment at an educational phase which is then divided by the corresponding child population and multiplied by 100 to obtain GER; the same at different phases is presented in Table 6.

For Example, GER at the Foundational stage is obtained by dividing the total enrolment, i.e., 5,75,15,266 (ECCE: 94,95,207 & Grades 1 and 2: 4,80,20,059) by the corresponding  3 to 7 years projected population (1,16,392 thousand), which is then multiplied by 100 to obtain a GER of 49.42 percent at this phase of education. This is repeated to obtain GER separately in the case of Girls (49.62 percent) and Boys (49.23 percent).

A GER of 49.42 percent at the Foundational phase of education indicates that almost 50 percent of children, including overage seven and underage three years, are enrolled in ECCE, including the pre-schools. No difference is, however, observed in the case of GER in boys and girls. GER has been treated as a crude indicator and thus may present a misleading picture of children’s participation.

                                         Table 6: Gross Enrolment Ratio (%), 2021-22

Phase Total Girls Boys
ECCE (3 to5 Years) 13.70 13.46 13.92
Grades I to II (6 to 7 Years) 101.96 103.64 100.47
Foundational (3 to 7 years) Stage 49.42 49.62 49.23
Preparatory Phase: Grades 3 to 5 (8 to 10 Years) 104.35 105.60 103.22
Middle Stage: Grades VI to VIII (11 to 13 Years) 94.67 94.90 94.45
Secondary Phase: Grades IX to XII (14 to 17 Years) 68.43 68.70 68.17
Grades I to XII (6 to 17 Years) 89.27 89.93 88.68
With Pre-primary (3 to 17 Years) 74.56 75.05 74.10

 By following the same methodology, GER at other phases of school education is calculated, which is presented in Table 6.

It is observed that as we move from one phase to the next phase, the GER shows a consistent decline over the previous phase. Even though GER is considered a crude indicator but at the same time, it gives information about the quantum of the unfinished task.

Table 6 further shows a GER of 104.35 percent in the Preparatory, 94.67 percent in the Middle, and 68.43 percent in the Secondary phase of education, all of which suggest that a good number of children of the corresponding age are yet to be enrolled.

It need not necessarily mean that all remaining children are unenrolled, as a few of them may also be enrolled one level above. However, more clear picture of children’s participation emerges when we next discuss the Net Enrolment Ratio, which like the GER, is also computed for all the four restructured phases of school education.

 Net Enrolment Ratio

Net enrolment in an educational phase corresponding to the clientele age group of that phase is required to calculate NER, which is available through the online portal of UDISE+ and is available for all four restructured phases of school education. The raw data of net as well as age-specific enrolment is annexed.

For example, the NER at the preparatory phase is calculated by dividing the net enrolment of Grades 3 to 5 of the corresponding age group 8 to 10 years which is then multiplied by 100. In this case, the net enrolment at the preparatory phase comes out to be 5,68,25,952, and the projected child population of age 8 to 10 years in 2021-22 is 70,743 thousand; this gives us a NER of 80.33 percent. By following the same methodology, NER for boys and girls comes out

                                        Table 7: Net Enrolment Ratio (%), 2021-22



Girls Boys Total
ECCE* (3 to5 Years) 13.46 13.92 13.70
Grades I to II (6 to 7 Years) 69.57 67.03 68.22
Foundational (3 to 7 years) stage* 35.96 35.59 35.76
Preparatory Phase: Grades 3 to 5 (8 to 10 Years) 81.39 79.37 80.33
Middle Stage: Grades VI to VIII (11 to 13 Years) 71.66 71.00 71.32
Secondary Phase: Grades IX to XII (14 to 17 Years) 53.43 52.82 53.11
Grades I to XII (6 to 17 Years) 67.44 66.22 66.80
With Pre-primary (3 to 17 Years) 56.94 56.02 56.46
* ECCE Total Enrolment, age-specific ECCE enrolment is not available.

to be 79.37 and 81.39 percent, respectively. A NER of 80.33 percent at the Preparatory phase indicates that 80.33 percent of children aged 8 to 10 are enrolled in the corresponding Grades 3 to 5. Are the remaining 19.67 percent of children of this age group termed out of school? It is unnecessary, as few of them may even be enrolled in one phase above, i.e., the Middle stage, the preparatory phase, which is not reflected in the Net Enrolment Ratio. Alternatively, the adjusted net enrolment ratio is calculated, which is considered a better indicator of children’s participation. It may also be observed that NER in the case of Part II of the Foundational stage consisting of Grades 1 & 2/6 to 7 years is 68.22 percent, indicating that many children of this age group were not enrolled in Grades 1 & 2 in 2021-22.

The NER at other phases of school education comes out to be 71.32 and 53.11 percent, respectively, in the case of the Middle and Secondary phases, all of which indicate that a good number of children are yet to be enrolled in the corresponding grades. Less than 50 percent of children aged 14 to 17 were unenrolled in Grades 9 to 12. Still, we are unsure that all of them are out of school as a few may currently be enrolled in the lower phases of school education.

Adjusted Net Enrolment Ratio

Next, we calculate the Adjusted Net Enrolment Ratio, which, as described above, is considered a better indicator than the NER because it also considers the enrolment of children of an age group one phase above the prescribed phase for that age group. Adjusted NER is bound to be more or equal to the NER. Since the enrolment above the Secondary phase is not readily available, the Adjusted NER for the Secondary phase of education is not possible to compute.

                     Table 8: Adjusted-Net Enrolment Ratio (%), 2021-22

Phase Girls Boys Total
*Foundational Phase I: Grades 1 & 2 (6 to 7 Years) 98.98 94.89 96.81
Preparatory Phase: Grades 3 to 5 (8 to 10 Years) 99.20 96.49 97.77
Middle Phase: Grades VI to VIII (11 to 13 Years) 87.54 86.99 87.25
* Excluding ECCE Enrolment, age-specific ECCE enrolment is not available.

It is observed that a good number of children of an age group that seemed to be out-of-school, a majority of them are enrolled in one phase above. Heartening to observe that only a few children are unenrolled, which is valid for both Phases 1 & 2 as the adjusted enrolment at these phases is almost universal.

In the Middle phase, 12.75 percent of the total 11 to 13 years children remained out of school; in absolute terms, it is as high as 89,95,125, which is considered huge. These children are neither enrolled in Grades 6 to 8 nor in one phase above, i.e., Grades 9 to 12. It may be recalled that NER at this phase is 71.32 percent, thus indicating that about 16 percent of children of the relevant age group are enrolled in the next higher phase. This is also very much true for the Preparatory phase having a NER of 68.22 percent against a high adjusted NER of 96.81 percent. This also indicates that children do enter the system much earlier than the prescribed age. As we move towards universalization, children enter the system at the prescribed age, and eventually, both the GER and GER will become the same.

Age-Specific Enrolment Ratio

We have discussed GER, NER, and adjusted NER, each of which has a limitation. Which enrolment ratio is then best to use? One can use a particular ratio depending on the objective and availability of data. Still, there is another ratio, namely the age-specific enrolment ratio, which presents coverage of children of a single age or age group and considers the total enrolment of that age/age group irrespective of the grade/phase of education. ASER is computed for the age groups 6 to7, 8 to 10, 11 to 13, and 14 to 17, which correspond to Grades 1 & 2,  Grades 3 to 5 of preparatory, Grades 6 to 8 of middle, and Grades 9 to 12 of secondary phases of school education.

ASER presented in Table 8 indicates that good progress has already been made concerning the foundational and preparatory phases, as above 96 percent of children of the relevant age groups are enrolled. However, all those enrolled are not necessarily enrolled in the corresponding grades/phase as the ASER considers the total enrollment irrespective of grade/phase. However, the same, especially for the 14 to 17 age group, is not true as only 57.38 percent of children in this age group are enrolled. Further, the ASER of the age group 11 to 13 years is reported to be 92.22 percent as against a NER of 71.32 percent, indicating that a good number of children of this age group are enrolled in other than the prescribed Grades of 6 to 8.

                                 Table 9: Age-specific Enrolment Ratio (%), 2021-22



Girls Boys Total
Age 6 & 7/Grades I to II 98.98 94;89 96.81
Age 8 to 10/Grades 3 to 5 101.88 99.40 100.58
Age 11 to 13/Grades VI to VIII 92.27 92.17 92.22
Age 14 to 17/Grades IX to XII 57.59 57.19 57.38
Note: Theoretically, ASER cannot exceed 100; maybe it is because of data abnormalities.

 Is 100 percent Enrolment Sufficient?

No, just having a hundred percent NER or Adjusted-NER itself doesn’t guarantee that we shall achieve the goal of universal enrolment unless all the children enter into the system through Grade 1 at the prescribed age, which can be measured by a variety of indicators, like intake, admission or more popularly known as entry rate but this most crucial indicator doesn’t find a place in most of District Annual Plans &  Budget being formulated annually as a part of the flagship Samagra Shiksha program of the Government of India.

Along with the entry rate, in view of NEP 2020, it would also be of interest to view the Grade 1 enrolment with previous experience,  information on which is available through UDISE+.

Meaning of Entry/Intake Rate

The basic indicator that gives an idea about coverage of child population (in a system) is the intake (entry) rate which is simply the division of enrolment in Grade I to the corresponding population at which a child is supposed to enter into the system (6-year). However, while calculating the entry rate, repeaters, if any, are not considered, and only fresh (new) entrants in Grade I are considered. This is because repeaters are not the members of the present cohort, but they entered into the system some one or two years back.

In the case of gross enrolment (including children below & above ‘6’ in Grade 1), the entry rate calculated is known as Gross Entry Rate; otherwise, it is known as Net Entry Rate. The entry rate, also known as the Admission or Intake rate, demonstrates the capacity of the system concerning the availability of schooling facilities.

Calculation of Entry Rate

Table 10 presents both the raw data and calculation procedure of the entry rate. Total enrolment in Grade 1 in 2021-22 is reported to be 2,41,80,153, of which girls constitute 47.60 percent or a GPI of 0.91, thus indicating a wide gap between boys’ and girls’ participation in Grade 1. The projected age-6 population in 2021-22 is 2,34,94,000, of which 46.92 percent are girls (GPI, 0.88).

Using the Grade 1 enrolment and age-6 population gives us an entry rate of 102.92 percent, which, if repeaters are considered, gives us a Gross Entry Rate of 102.47 percent, which also includes over and under age-6 children because this rate is considered a crude indicator of the participation of age-6 children. Alternatively, the Net Entry rate, which is considered a better indicator, is calculated.

Instead of total Grade 1 enrolment, while calculating the net entry rate, net enrolment (new entrants) in Grade 1 of age ‘6’ is considered. Table 10 shows a total enrolment of age 6 in Grade 1 to be 1,07,64,297, which, if divided by a projected child population of 2,34,94,000, gives a Net Entry Rate of 45.82 percent.

A gross entry rate of 102.47 percent means that more than 102 percent of children (of entry age), including the overage and underage, are enrolled. However, a net entry rate of 46 percent means that 54 percent of children of entry age are out of the system or are yet to be enrolled, or a few of them may even be enrolled in a higher phase of school education.

Further, it is heartening to observe a high Net Entry Rate in the case of Girls (46.66 percent) than their counterpart Boys (45.07 percent); however, the difference between the two is marginal. In view of the low net entry rate, concerted efforts are required to bring the remaining children under the fold of education. In addition, the net entry rate is required to be computed at the sub-national level and by social category, without which it can not be used as input to planning exercises. Entry rate is also useful in projecting grade-specific enrolment but is not presently seen in use.

Needless to mention that unless the net entry rate is brought to a hundred, the goal of universal enrolment cannot be achieved. Except for the initial period of the DPEP, now district plans do not present an entry rate which is true for both the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the newly launched Samagra Shiksha: An Integrated Scheme for School Education.

Table 10: Entry Rate at All-India Level: 2021-22

Enrolment/Repeaters/Entry Rate Grade I Enrolment, 2021-22
Boys Girls Total  







Gender Parity Index (Enrolment)



GPI in Age-6 Population


Total Grade I Enrolment 12670963 11509190 24180153
Grade I Enrolment of Age 6 5621276 5143021 10764297
With Pre-School Experience 9973180 9124076 19097256
Projected Age-6 Population 12471000 11023000 23494000
Gross Entry Rate (%) (without repeaters) 101.60 104.41 102.92
Net Entry Rate 45.07 46.66 45.82
Repeaters in Grade I 45734 59109 104843
Freshers (Grade I Enrolment – Repeaters) 12625229 11450081 24075310
Gross Entry Rate 101.24 103.87 102.47

Source: Calculated based on UDISE+ 2021-22 data by Prof. Arun C Mehta. Expert Committee Population Projections: 2011 to 2036 have been considered in getting a single age-6 population for the year 2021-22.

Grade I Enrolment with Pre-School Experience

It may be recalled that the NEP 2020 extended coverage of school education to early childhood care education, which is part of the foundational stage of education along with Grades 1 & 2 and the corresponding age groups 3 to 7 years because of which it is essential to know how many

Table 11: Grade I Enrolment with Pre-School Experience, 2021-22

Grade I Enrolment with Pre-School Experience in Pre-School Another School Anganwadi/ECCE Total with


Total 4348419 1476371 4357390 10182180
Boys 2285734 784821 2239766 5310321
Girls 2062685 691550 2117624 4871859
% Grade I Enrolment by Previous Experience


42.71 14.50 42.79 42.11
Boys 43.04 14.78 42.18 41.90
Girls 42.34 14.19 43.47 42.33
Boys Girls Total
Total Enrolment in Grade I 12670963 11509190 24180153
Grade I Enrolment without Experience 7360642 6637331 13997973
% Grade 1 without Previous Experience 58.09 57.67 57.89  

Source: Calculated based on UDISE+ 2021-22 data by Prof. Arun C Mehta.

children in Grade 1 have had pre-school experience for which the UDISE+ 2021-22 data is analysed. Experience in pre-school, from another school, and Anganwadi/EECE are three pre-experiences children in Grade 1 have.

It may be recalled that the total enrolment in Grade 1 at the all-India level in 2022-23 is 2,41,80,153, of which 1,39,97,973 reported pre-experience, which indicates that only 42.11 percent of the total students in Grade 1 had pre-experience compared to which 41.90 percent Boys and 42.33 percent Girls have had pre-experience. Since the pre-school/Anganwadi/ECCE has recently formally made part of the school education, it is expected that the percentage of students with pre-experience in Grade 1 will gradually improve in the coming years. This also indicates that about 58 percent of those enrolled in Grade 1 in 2021-22 did not have any pre-experience and entered the system without prior experience.

Grade 1 enrolment with the nature of pre-experience in 2021-22 further indicates that children had an almost equal percentage in the case of pre-schools (42.71 percent) and Anganwadi/ECCE (42.79 percent). As many as 14.50 percent of students in Grade 1 have pre-experience but in a different school than the present one in which they are enrolled. An almost similar percentage is obtained in the case of boys and girls in Grade I. It may also be observed that the percentage of Grade 1 students without pre-experience in 2021-22 is as high as 57.89, almost similar for boys and girls. In other words, it means that as many as 1,39,97,973 students entered the system without pre-experience, all of whom may be considered freshers.

Retaining Capacity of System

The intake rate fails to give an idea about children who entered and then remained in the system in the years that followed. Enrolling all children of age six does not guarantee that the goal of universal enrolment will be achieved on its own; it is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. Children are to be retained in the system and should also acquire minimum levels of competencies. For that purpose, other indicators, such as dropout & retention rate, the transition from foundational to preparatory, and preparatory to middle and from middle to the secondary phase of education, may also be analysed.; for this purpose, indicators concerning the enrolment ratio at different phases and retention and transition rate from one phase to another need to be analyzed and the same have been presented below.

Dropout Rates

With the data available in the public domain, an effort has been made to compute flow rates at all the phases of restructured school education for which grade-specific enrolment corresponds to a phase for the years 2020-21 and 2021-22 and the number of repeaters in the latest year, i.e., 2021-22 has been considered.

It may be observed that because of consideration of all schools, the dropout rate often presents absurd results; following the same methodology at the all-India level does not present an accurate picture of retaining the system’s capacity. Though the average annual dropout rate must be based on the common schools, from the UDISE+ portal, it is not possible to download enrolment data based on the common schools, given that an attempt is made to compute the dropout rate at the all-India level for different phases of school education.

The flow rates for the Cohort 2020-21 (the year 2021-22) are presented in Tables 12 & 13. The impact of considering all schools instead of common schools is reflected in the average annual dropout rate at the Foundational phase, which is for both boys and girls is negative. Even otherwise, the same is an underestimate of the actual dropout rates. The average annual dropout rate for the preparatory phase obtained is 2.14 percent for all and 2.08 and 2.19 percent, respectively, in the case of girls and boys. In view of the large child population (70,743 thousand) corresponding to the preparatory phase, as many as 15,13,90 children dropped out from Grades 3 to 5 between the years 2020-21 and 2021-22.

In the Middle phase, the average annual dropout is 3.02 percent which has increased from 1.9 in the previous cohort; in absolute numbers, as many as 2.35 million students dropped out from Grades 6 to 8 between the year; thus, would severely impact efforts being currently made through Samagra Shiksha. Further, it is observed that more girls (3.31 percent) dropped out from these grades than their counterparts boys (2.74 percent), which needs quick intervention. Please refer to Table 13, presenting the number of dropped-out children in the Middle phase between the years 2020-21 and 2021-22, indicating that the number of dropped-out children is 2.25 million.

Table 12: Average Annual Flow Rates as per Different Phases of Restructured School Education

Cohort 2020-21 (The year 2021-22)

Foundational Phase/Grades 1 to 2 Total Girls Boys
Repetition Rate 0.42 0.51 0.34
Promotion Rate 100.56 100.64 100.49
Dropout Rate -0.98 -1.15 -0.83
Preparatory Phase/Grades 3 to 5 Total Girls Boys
Repetition Rate 0.54 0.58 0.49
Promotion Rate 97.32 97.34 97.32
Dropout Rate 2.14 2.08 2.19
Middle Stage/Grades 5 to 8 Total Girls Boys
Repetition Rate 0.72 0.75 0.70
Promotion Rate 96.26 95.94 96.56
Dropout Rate 3.02 3.31 2.74
Secondary Phase/Grades 9 to 11*) Total Girls Boys
Repetition Rate 1.06 1.21 1.20
Promotion Rate 89.18 101.51 101.34
Dropout Rate 9.76 -2.72 -2.54
* Since enrolment data post Grade XII is not available, it is not possible to compute the dropout rate for Grades IX to XII.

Lakshadweep has the lowest number of 64 dropped-out children in Middle phase grades; however, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of 3,76,206 in Middle classes. On the other hand, as many as eight states reported no student dropping out during this phase between 2020-21 and 2021-22. Madhya Pradesh is followed by Bihar (3,23,289 students), Uttar Pradesh (3,22,617 students), Rajasthan (1,81,757 Students), Assam (1,71,921 students), Odisha (1,56,407 students), etc. Further, it is observed that at least eight states reported more than 100 thousand dropped-out students in Grades 6 to 8 in 2021-22.

                Table 13 Number of Dropped out Children at Middle Phase III

State/ UT Enrolment in Middle Phase, Grades 6 to 8: 2020-21 Dropout Rate, Middle Phase 2021-22 Number of Dropped-out

Children between

2020-21 & 2021-22

Andaman and Nicobar Islands 17959 1.0 180
Andhra Pradesh 2157288 1.6 34517
Arunachal Pradesh 85587 6.7 5734
Assam 1953646 8.8 171921
Bihar 7028016 4.6 323289
Chandigarh 63824 0.0 0
Chhattisgarh 1472887 4.1 60388
Dadra and Nagar Haveli & 34439 0.0 0
Daman and Diu
Delhi 1153258 0.0 0
Goa 71777 0.0 0
Gujarat 3082327 5.0 154116
Haryana 1443313 0.2 2887
Himachal Pradesh 339892 0.6 2039
Jammu and Kashmir 576755 3.0 17303
Jharkhand 2055203 3.9 80153
Karnataka 3158190 1.1 34740
Kerala 1490417 0.0 0
Ladakh 12078 1.1 133
Lakshadweep 2457 2.6 64
Madhya Pradesh 4275073 8.8 376206
Maharashtra 5846586 1.5 87699
Manipur 155783 5.6 8724
Meghalaya 242417 10.6 25696
Mizoram 69520 2.7 1877
Nagaland 98469 4.0 3939
Odisha 2142561 7.3 156407
Puducherry 62953 2.4 1511
Punjab 1456184 8.0 116495
Rajasthan 4226917 4.3 181757
Sikkim 31267 0.0 0
Tamil Nadu 3110765 0.0 0
Telangana 1794753 3.1 55637
Tripura 184264 4.5 8292
Uttar Pradesh 11124734 2.9 322617
Uttarakhand 594201 2.7 16043
West Bengal 4238439 0.0 0
India 22,50,364

                      Source: Calculated based on UDISE+ 2020-21 & 2021-22 data.

Since the enrolment data past Grade XII is not available, it is not possible to work out the dropout rate at the Secondary phase, which is the combination of the previous secondary and higher secondary levels of education. Instead, we have calculated dropout rates in Grades 9 to 11 and presented them in Table 12, which reveals a remarkably high dropout rate of 9.76 percent.

Transition Rates

The average annual dropout rates presented above indicate that they are high, especially in the case of Middle and Higher Secondary phases of school education. Still, there is no guarantee that those who have not dropped out will complete a phase and transit to the next phase, for which we have computed and presented the transition rate from one phase to another.

For example, the transition rate from the Preparatory to Middle phase/Grades 5 to 6 is obtained by dividing enrolment in Grade 6’ (minus repeaters) in 2021-22 by enrolment in the previous grade, i.e., Grade V in 2020-21, then multiplied by 100 to get transition rate, i.e. [(22636898 – 158580)/ 24124090)*100 = 93.18 percent]

The transition rates are above 90 percent except in the Middle to Secondary phase, thus indicating that those who reach the end of the phase could transit to the next phase. However, the same from the Middle to Secondary phase of education indicate that only 89 percent of children transit between these level, and about 11 percent of children drop out from the system between one level of education to another, which is in addition to about 3 percent children those who dropped out in between the Grades of Middle phase. An almost equal percentage of boys and girls transit from one phase to another which is true for all the phases of school education (Table 14).

Table 14: Transition Rate, 2020-21



Girls Boys Total












Foundational Stage I. Grade 2 to 3 99.42 98.95 99.18 98.86 99.30 98.90
Preparatory to Middle Phase/Grades 5 to 6 94.05 93.37 93.64 93.00 93.84 93.18
Middle to Secondary Phase/Grade 8 to 9 88.86 87.84 90.79 89.73 89.86 88.81

Retention Rate

Still, there is no guarantee that all the students who have not dropped out will remain up to the final grade of a phase. To know this retention rate at the end grade of a phase is computed. The retention rate is calculated in relation to enrolment in Grade 1 from where students enter the system. The current retention rates (Grades 1 to 5, 1 to 8, and 1 to 12) prior to the restructuring of the school education level will continue, which is presented in Table 15 all, which shows that a significant number of children dropped out from the system and did not reach to  Grades 5, 8 and 12 which is true for both the boys and girls. This has got serious implications for India’s efforts towards universal school education with 100 percent GER by 2030.

For example, the retention rate at the Preparatory Phase (1 to 5) is obtained by dividing enrolment in Grade V (minus repeaters) in 2021-22 by enrolment in Grade I in 2017-18, which is then multiplied by 100, i.e. [(2,41,00,523 – 1,58,538)/2,50,87,310)*100]

Table 15: Retention Rates, 2021-22

Phase Boys Girls Total
Preparatory Phase (Grades 1 to 5) 94.9 96.0 95.4
Middle Phase (Grades 1 to 8) 80.5 82.1 81.2
Secondary Phase (Grades 1 to12) 43.1 44.2 43.6

                                         Source: UDISE+ 2021-22.

Concluding Observations

From the above discussion, one gets the idea of how to build a set of indicators per the requirements of the restructured school education: foundational, preparatory, middle, and secondary phases. By taking examples, the computation of indicators is explained, which the state and the district planning teams working to formulate the annual work plan and budget must compute for their state and district.

All the demonstrated indicators can be worked out separately at any level of education in the case of boys and girls. Raw data to construct such indicators are available in ready-to-use form from UDISE+. If the districts do not have access to raw data, the national-level authorities must provide all states/districts with disaggregated data.

Initially, districts may not be able to construct indicators per the restructured phases for which the state MIS unit can compute and provide the same to the district so that the district planning teams can use the same while formulating annual work plans. Alternatively, the state must design a unique spreadsheet and provide the same to the district to generate block-specific indicators at their own gender-specific wherever required.

We cannot afford to use indicators as per the previous structure in the absence of which progress on different aspects of the program can not be monitored and make mid-course corrections.

The national-level institutions engaged in planning, such as NIEPA, must be entrusted with developing a planning module that has become necessary because of the changes in the school structure. How long we continue to plan as per the previous structure of education? Not only this, NIEPA must take responsibility and orient both the state and district planning teams with the new structure and new set of indicators in mind, with further loss of time.

It is hoped that UDISE+ will present modified indicators in its forthcoming publications both at the all-India and state levels. In the absence of phase-specific indicators, it is impossible to monitor the progress or to review and suggest mid-course corrections, nor can the targets be set as per the modified phases of education.

Annexure:  Projected Child Population based on Technical Group 2021-22

Computing Uncomputed Indicators in Response to NEP 2020 [Full Length PDF]