NATIONAL FAMILY HEALTH SURVEY (NFHS-5) 2019-21 INDIA MARCH 2022: International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF, 2021. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 2019-21: India. Mumbai: IIPS.

 Different educational variables have found a place in NFHS in its different rounds. The educational level of the household population, school attendance, literacy status of the population, years of schooling, etc. are a few such variables. The following variables have got relevance to the education has however found placed in the latest NFHS-5: 2019-21 which was conducted in two phases reports of which are now available. The information is available both at the state and all-India levels and also separately in the rural and urban areas.

  • Percentage of Female population aged-6 years & above who ever attended school
  • Percentage of Children aged-5 years who attended pre-primary school (during the school year 2019-20)
  • Percentage of women who are literate
  • Percentage of Men who are literate
  • Percentage of Women with 10 or more years of schooling
  • Percentage of Men with 10 or more years of schooling

Of the above variables, the percentage of children aged-5 years who attended pre-primary school (during the school year 2019-20) is significant given NEP 2020 which recommended extension of school education to the pre-primary age group i.e. 3 to 5 years.

  • First NFHS: 1992-93
  • Second NFHS: 1998-99
  • Third NFHS: 2005-06
  • Fourth NFHS: 2015-16 &
  • Fifth NFHS: 2019-21

The recent all-India Report of NFHS-5: 2019-21 was released in March 2022, and the following variables having got relevance to education has found a place in the report which is presented both at the all-India and State levels. All the States and UTs of India have been divided into North, Central,  East, Northeast, West, and Southern regions and analysis is presented both at the All India and Region-specific. The same has also been presented separately for the rural as well as for the urban areas. Fact Sheets of India and States &
UTs as well as District Fact Sheets and State Reports can be downloaded from the official website of NFHS which is being managed by the IIPS, Mumbai.

  • Educational Attainment
  • Pre-school Attendance
  • School Attendance
    • Gross Attendance Ratio
    • Net Attendance Ratio
  • Gender parity Index

In particular, the following tables present information on educational variables:

  • Table 2.22 Preschool attendance: Age 2 to 4years
  • Table 2.23 Preschool attendance by state/union territory
  • Table 2.24 Educational attainment of household population
  • Table 2.25 Educational attainment of household population by state/union territory
  • Table 2.26 School attendance by state/union territory
  • Table 2.27 School attendance ratios
  • Table 2.28 Reasons for children currently not attending school

Brief Analysis

The educational data covered in the NFHS-5 indicate that only 39.9 percent of males and 40.3 percent females of aged 2 to 4 years were attending pre-schools of which only 69 percent were found to have attended during the period 2019-21. Not much variation is observed between the rural (38.3 percent) and Urban (43.9 percent) areas as almost the same percentage were found to be attending pre-schooling during the same period. However, more girls of this age (71.3 percent) were found attending than their counterparts boys (66.6 percent). Further, it has been observed that the percentage of children 2 to 4 years was a bit higher in the rural areas (71.3 percent) compared to 65.6 percent in the urban areas. The same information for the children aged-5 years attending pre-schools was earlier separately released by the NFHS-5.

The NFHS-5 also disseminated 6-17 years population attending schools which reveals that 87.4 percent of the population of this age group were attending schools during 2019-20; however, the percentage was observed to be higher in the urban areas (90.4 percent) than the same in the rural areas (86.1 percent). Not much difference is observed between males (88.2 percent) and females (86.5 percent) attending school.

he Net Attendance Ratio in primary schools was reported to be 83 percent in the rural areas as compared to 83.87 percent in the urban areas and GPI is reported to be as high as 0.99; thus meaning that both boys and girls were found almost equally attending primary schools which is quite similar to NER reported from the administrative surveys. The Net Attendance Ratio in primary schools is reported to be 83.87 percent in the urban and 83 percent in the rural areas with a GPI of 0.99; thus indicating that both boys and girls were equally attending primary schools. Compared to primary schools, only 76 and 79.6 percent population of 6-17 years were found to be attending (NAR) middle/secondary and higher secondary schools respectively in the urban and rural areas thus indicating that a good percentage is still far out of this level of education.

Like the previous NFHS, NFHS-5: 2019-21 also collected information on the 6-17 years population not attending schools and reasons for not attending. Despite many flagships programs launched by the Government of India, still about 21.4 percent of 6-17 years not attending school because they are reported not interested in studies as compared to 3.9 percent because of the repetitive failures, 6.8 percent got married (males, 0.3 percent & females, 6.8 percent), 20.6 percent required to work outside for cash earning, 13.3 because of household work, 6.2 percent because of the school located far away, etc. all which indicate that school education in the Country despite mega programs is still facing challenges which are similar to the same in the 1990s when the country launched one of the mega programs of primary education, namely DPEP and subsequently Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RMSA and now Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan program. We might have opened a good number of schools under different programs but 6.2 percent of 6-17 years just not attending because schools are located far from their household is a great cause of concern. Is it because of the merging and closing of schools initiated recently in the Country? What about RTE norms to ensure that schools are made available in the neighbourhood? Disheartening to observe that 6.2 percent of the total 6-17 years population do not attend schools as they feel that schools are located far away from their household which is also a question mark about the implementation of the Right to Education Act enacted long back in 2009 specifying that no students are detained in elementary classes and all relevant age group children are provided a school within the neighbourhood.

Download Full PDF, Analysis of NFHS-5 by Arun C Mehta

Note: please download data and report from the official website of IIPS Mumbai and give full reference in any form use of NFHS-5: 2019-21

Back  to Education for All in India