UDISE-plus 2021-22 Report Highlights by Arun C Mehta*
Arun C Mehta, Formerly Professor & Head of the EMIS Department, NIEPA, New Delhi
‘About 38 lakh children in Classes 1-8 dropped out between 2020-21 and 2021-22’
- It is hoped that with this publication, the Ministry will next resume and bring out the series of publications like brought from 2005-06 to 2017-18.
- Since UDISE+ is now said to be a completely online system, it should have taken much lesser time than it took.
- One of the reasons for the improvement in the Gross Enrolment Ratio, if any, in 2021-22 may also be partly because of the decline in the corresponding child population.
- UDISE+ data presents a comparison of a few key indicators with the previous year, but the same is presented only at the all-India level but considered a welcome addition.
- Only a little analysis has been presented in UDISE+ 2021-22 Report, and that too at the all-India level only. No state-specific analysis and its implications on India’s efforts towards universal school enrolment are viewed or commented on.
- It was expected that the UDISE+ 2021-22 Report would present the entry/intake rate as comprehensive information about enrolment in Grade I is now available along with the corresponding single age-6 child population.
- In response to structural changes in the school structure (NEP 2020), the UDISE+ 2021-22 Report failed to present new indicators or modify the existing indicators. It continued with the old structure.
- The UDISE+ 2021-22 mention that “The decline in total schools is mainly due to closure of schools under private and other management” However, it has failed to mention that the number of schools managed by the Government has also declined by 9,663 schools.
- In the latest year, i.e., 2021-22, the total number of schools covered under UDISE+ declined by 20,021 schools (1.33 percent).
- UDISE+ 2021-22 covered a lesser number of schools compared to the same in 2017-18, and the difference is to the tune of hoping 69,788 schools (-4.48 percent). During the same period, schools under Government management declined by 72,157 (6.59 percent).
- It is hoped that the Ministry will furnish reasons for the steep decline in schools as well as the criteria used and whether RTE norms of distance were followed.
- School enrolment in India has never been free from limitations which is also true for UDISE+ data, especially between the years 2018-19 to the latest year, 2021-22.
- Total Grades I to XII enrolment in UDISE+ 2021-22 show an increase of 1.94 million, which is slightly higher than total enrolment in 2012-13 (25.43 million), the first year of unification.
- Both in the absolute (5.64 million) and percentage (6.40 percent) terms, the year 2021-22 see a steep decline in enrolment under private unaided management, which is higher than their share in decline in the total number of unaided schools
- Despite the decline in the number of government schools, enrolment is increased by a hoping 8.1 million, which is 6.10 percent of the same in 2020-21.
- Enrolment data indicates that all those who left private and other schools do not necessarily shift to schools under government management.
- Because of the decline in enrolment under private management, the share of enrolment under government management increased to 54.94 percent in 2021-22 from 52.18 percent in the previous year.
- The decline in secondary enrolment is to the tune of 478 thousand (-1.22 percent), which may be the decline in the transition rate from elementary to secondary level of education.
- Even though the total enrolment in Grades 1 to 12 in 2021-22 shows an overall increase of 1.94 million, enrolment by levels shows that the same declined at the primary level; however, the decline is only marginal.
- A drastic decline in elementary enrolment is observed in the case of private unaided (51,48,606, 8.03 percent)), against which enrolment under the government management increased by 65,65,019 (6.28 percent).
- UDISE+ 2021-22 indicates that about 57.6 percent of children of 16 to 17 years are not enrolled in the corresponding level of education
- Adjusted Net Enrolment Ratio at the primary level of education is reported to be 99.1 percent, thus indicating that only 0.9 percent of the total children of age group 6 to 11 are not enrolled in the corresponding Grades 1 to 5.
- Irrespective of the level of education, the Net Enrolment Ratio declined in 2021-22 over 2020-21, which is despite a decline in the child population.
- It is hoped that UDISE+ 2022-23 Report will present the revised set of enrolment-based indicators corresponding to changes in the school structure recommended in the NEP 2020.
- At the primary level of education, the dropout rate declined from 4.5 percent for cohort 2017-18 to 1.5 percent in cohort 2018-19 and further to 0.8 percent for cohort 2019-20 but again declined to 1.5 percent in 2021-22.
- As many as 18,30,319 students in primary grades and 19,75,625 students in upper primary grades dropped out between the years 2020-21 & 2021-22, which would have serious implications for India’s efforts toward universal elementary education. Actual number of dropped out children is higher, if it is calculated state-wise.
- About 19 percent of students who entered the system in 2014-15 through Grade I couldn’t reach Grade VIII in 2021-22 and dropped out of the system before the completion of the elementary stage of education.
- The UDISE+ dropout rate is computed based on all schools instead of common schools, which had been a practice during 2005-06 to 2017-18; this is not free from errors.
- As many as 15 states at the primary and eight states at the upper primary level reported zero dropout rate, which, in fact, is negative but reported zero.
- The UIDSE+ authorities may like to switch over to the previous methodology adopted during 2005-06 to 2017-18 and, in the future, must compute and present flow rates based on common schools.
- Dropout at the upper primary level increased to 3 percent in 2021-22 from 1.9 percent per annum during the previous year; this has widespread implications for UEE.
- If India has to attain the status of universal school education, there is no option but to improve the efficiency of the education system.
- UDISE+ authorities must explain sudden ups and downs in enrolment and present the reasons for the same, especially in the recent past.
- In view of revamping SDMIS in sync with the UDISE+ 2022-23, the states must be strengthened to ensure that schools have adequate computer facilities with internet connectivity.
- The system is yet to be fully evolved as a true online, paperless, and real-time system.
- Apart from online verification of data by local authorities/officials, let there be verification of data by a third-party agency on a sample basis, and it must be initiated by the Ministry on a pan-India basis.
*Report on UDISE+ 2021-22: Flash Statistics was released on 3rd November 2022, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education, Government of India.
Prof. Arun C Mehta has been extensively writing on UDISE+ His detailed observations on UDISE+ 2021-22 can be downloaded from the link below. He has raised a number of issues which are of importance. It is hoped that the forthcoming reports of UDISE+ will consider suggestions provided by Prof. Mehta.