UDISE, Interview of Prof. Arun C Mehta in Times of India, New Delhi 21st September 2021
UDISE 2020-21 Data

UIDSE+ 2020-21 Data: Flash Statistics  was recently released by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education. A Detailed analysis undertaken by Prof. Arun C Mehta was reported by Career360.

Education Ministry Must Explain why 43,000 schools dropped out of UDISE

UDISE+ 2020-21: Flash Statistics (Full Report released by Ministry of Education)

UDISE+ 2020-21: Preliminary Analysis by Prof. Arun C Mehta, Formerly Professor & HOD NIEPA, New Delhi

UDISE+ 2020-21: Preliminary Observations by Arun C Mehta, Formerly Professor & Head of the EMIS Department, NIEPA, New Delhi

The UDISE+ 2020-21 Report briefly presents analysis at the all-India level and state-specific statements for all the States and Union Territories, including Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh data which was collected as of 30th September 2020. The first-ever UDISE+ report for the year 2019-20 was released by the ministry on July 1, 2021. It may be recalled that UDISE from the year 2018-19 is being managed by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education. Report of UDISE+ 2018-19 is yet to be released. Though it is late still it would be better to bring out the printed version of the UDISE+ 2018-19 report rather than making it available on the portal. From the year 2005-06 to 2020-21, the year 2018-19 is the only year for which no report has since been published.

The time-lag in educational statistics at one point of time was a year at the national level, which is now surely on increase. However, the 2020-21 data has taken a little less time to release than the same in the case of the UDISE+ 2019-20 data. Still, more than 18 months have taken to release the 2020-21 data. Since UDISE+ is now claimed to be a completely online system, it should have taken much lesser time than it took in the view of which the original planning of providing real-time data has forfeited. It was also claimed that since the UDISE+ data is planned to be real-time, there is no need to have a date of reference. The UDISE+ 2020-21, as well as 2019-20+ Reports, clearly mention that the data provided is as of 30th September of the concerned year.

Here are some quick observations.

Age-specific Child Population

Like UDISE+ 2019-20, UDISE+ 2020-21 enrolment indicators are also based on child population provided by the Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections, National Commission on Population, Ministry of Health, and Family Welfare (July 2020), which is a welcome development. The projected child population presented below reveals that the 6 to 13 years child population has declined to 189.59 million in 2020-21 from 190.79 million in 2019-20; thus showing a decline of 1.20 million in absolute terms or 0.63 percentage form. One of the reasons for the improvement in GER, if any is also partially because of the decline in the corresponding child population.

Age-specific Projected Child Population

 

Year

6 to 10 Years 11 to 13 years
Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total
2019-20 62093000 56354000 118446400 37587800 34760400 72346800
2020-21 62147000 55998000 118144200 37063400 34386200 71448400

Source: UDISE+ 2019-20 & 2020-21, DoSE&L, Ministry of Education

UDISE+ statistical tables

  1. Like the Flash Statistics in the previous years (up to 2017-18), none of the UDISE+ 2020-21 tables have time-series information in the absence of which, one has to refer to individual year’s data which is to be downloaded from the portal.
  2. At the national level, while UDISE+ 2019-20 rightly compared indicators with 2012-13 UDISE data, the first year of the unification of DISE and SEMIS, but UDISE+ 2020-21, indicators have only been compared with 2018-19 and 2019-20 or the year from which UDISE is managed by the Ministry of Education.
  3. A little analysis has been presented in UDISE+ 2020-21 Report and that too at the all-India level only.
  4. In addition to the indicators presented, a few indicators such as the source of drinking water, percentage of contractual teachers, Gross Enrolment Ratio of Muslim enrolment, etc., should have found a place in the report. Similarly, SC and ST age-specific, net enrolment ratios, and adjusted net enrolment ratios have not been presented.
  5. In addition to indicators, most of the tables present absolute numbers which are of limited use and should have been avoided. To the extent possible, all the numbers should have been presented in the percentage form wherever possible.
  6. Since comprehensive information about enrolment in Grade I is now available along with the corresponding age-6 child population, it was expected that apart from enrolment ratios, entry/intake rate would find a place in UDISE+ 2020-21 Report. No meaningful planning can be undertaken without analyzing the entry rate bringing all children of age-6 under the umbrella of education is the necessary condition to move towards universal school education as envisaged in the NEP 2020.

UDISE+ 2020-21: Coverage of Schools

 At this point only total schools at different levels of education and the same under the government and private unaided managements is made available; detailed analysis of coverage is not possible to undertake. The UDISE+ 2020-21 is silent on the number of schools covered and starts its analysis directly on enrolment. It may be recalled that the number of schools covered under UDISE+ 2019-20 had declined by 43,292 and the same in the case of schools under the Department of Education management declined by more than 50 thousand schools but no explanation was ever presented on reasons behind the drastic decline in coverage of schools under UDISE+ 2019-20. Contrary to the decline in Government schools, private unrecognized schools were increased by 11,271 schools (3.75 percent). However, a total of 1,428 more schools have been covered under UDISE+ 2020-21 which is 0.09 percent of the total schools in 2019-20. In 2020-21, a total of 3,254 more private unaided schools (0.96 percent) were covered under UDISE+. If we compare the number of schools covered under UDISE 2017-18, the last year of UDISE that was managed by NIEPA, the same is declined by a total of 49,767 schools (3.19 percent). The ministry must furnish reasons for the decline, is the decline due to closer or merging of schools? If yes, what were the criteria used?

Number of Schools (All Schools)

Year Total Number

of

Schools

Increase/

Decrease

%age

Change

Total Government/DoE Schools Total Private Schools
2017-18 15,58,903    
2018-19 15,51,000 – 7,903 – 0.5 326228
2019-20 15,07,708 – 43,292 – 2.8 1032570 337499
2020-21 15,09,136 +1,428 +0.09 1032049 340753
2017-18 to 2020-21   – 49,767 – 3.19    
   

Source: UDISE & UDISE+, different years.

Enrolment

Total Grades I to XII enrolment in UDISE+ 2020-21 show an increase of 2.83 million which is still lower than total enrolment in 2012-13; the first year of unification. However, the highest ever enrolment of 260.60 million was recorded in the year 2015-16. The UDISE+ 2020-21 data was recorded on 30th September 2020 because of which the complete impact of COVID1 started in March 2020 may not be reflected in UDISE+ 2020-21. More shift of students to government schools is expected to be reflected in 2021-22 data.

The Department of School Education & Literacy press release mention that a total of 39.7 lakh students shifted from aided and unaided schools to government schools which may not be fully true. Enrolment in aided, unaided, and other schools in 2020-21 was declined by only 14.50 lakhs all of which might have not been shifted to government schools. The balance students of 28.33 lakhs might be termed as fresh admission to the government schools? Because of the shift of students to government schools, its share of total enrolment has slightly increased to 52.18 percent contrary to which enrolment under private unaided schools declined to 34.71 percent in 2020-21 from 35.43 percent in the previous year. In the coming year i.e. 2021-22 the government share to total enrolment is expected to further improve. Since the COVID is now almost over, the government must make all efforts to ensure that students do not shift back to private schools.

Number of Schools
 Management 2017-18 %age 2019-20 %age 2020-21 Change over Previous Year %age
Government 131771929 52.50 128142596 51.06 132425644 4283048 52.18
Aided Managements 27988493 11.15 27014238 10.76 26446332 -567906 10.42
Private Unaided 83311659 33.19 88913012 35.43 88089385 -823627 34.71
Others 7917112 3.15 6901837 2.75 6843100 -58737 2.70
Total I to XII 250989193 100.00 250971683 100.00 253804461 2832778 100.00

Source: UDISE+ It may be recalled that total enrolment in UDISE 2012-13 was 25,42,75,128 which is 471 thousand more than enrolment in 2020-21. The highest ever total enrolment was 26,05,96,960 in the year 2015-16.

The increase in total enrolment under government management in 2020-21 is also reflected in the elementary enrolment which has seen a decline by 14.95 lakhs under aided and unaided managements. Surprisingly, a large chunk of the decline in enrolment is due to a decline in enrolment in aided schools. Despite the decline, the share of elementary enrolment in unaided schools stands at 34.12 percent.

Total I to VIII Enrolment
  Management 2017-18 %age 2019-20 %age 2020-21 Change over Previous Year %age
Government 105828898 56.34 101682222 54.50 104492647 2810425 55.62
Aided Managements 13978909 7.44 13366824 7.16 12828918 -537906 6.83
Private Unaided 60860037 32.40 64999102 34.84 64098229 -900873 34.12
Others 7158778 3.81 6511942 3.49 6455696 -56246 3.44
Total I to VIII 187826622 100.00 186560090 100.00 187875490 1315400 100.00

Source: UDISE+

School Enrolment Ratio: 2019-20 & 2020-21

Like previous years, UDISE+ 2020-21 also presents a variety of enrolment ratios all of which suggests that the goal of universal school enrolment is still a far distant dream, except at the primary level of education, at other levels of school education, the unfinished task is challenging to achieve by 2030 as envisaged in NEP 2020 which is also reflected in India’s commitment towards sustainable development goals for education. For example, UDISE+ 2020-21 indicates that about 54 percent of children of 16 to 17 years are not enrolled in the corresponding level of education as compared to about 26 percent of 14-15 years children not enrolled in the secondary level of education. Further, about 4 percent of children of age 6-13 years are found not to be enrolled which need immediate attention.

Enrolment Ratios

Level

 

GER NER Adjusted NER ASER
2019-20 2020-21 2019-20 2020-21 2019-20 2020-21 2019-20 2020-21
Primary 102.7  103.3 91.4  92.7 97.3  98.6 97.3  98.6 (6-10 years)
Upper Primary 89.7  92.2 71.1  74.1 81.6  84.4 89.6  91.6 (11-13 years)
Elementary 97.8  99.1 83.7  92.1 94.4  96.0 94.4  96.0 (6-13 years)
Secondary 77.9  79.8 50.2  52.5 60.2  61.8 72.4  73.4 (14-15 years)
Higher Secondary 51.4  53.8 32.3  34.7  – 44.2  46.3 (16-17 years)

Source: UDISE+ 2019-20 & 2020-21

It is hoped that enrolment indices will be computed at the disaggregated levels, such as block and district levels and due attention will be given while formulating school education annual work plan and budget under the ongoing Samagra Shiksha programme of the Department of School Education and Literacy. The improvement visible in the enrolment ratio, especially at secondary and higher secondary levels is termed marginal.

It may also be important to observe that because of changes made in the school structure, not only the existing set of indicators will be required to be relooked into but a set of new indicators would be required to be worked out for each of the phases of education, such as, (i) Foundational Stage of School Education (3 years of Pre-primary education including Grades 1 and 2 with corresponding age-group 3 to 8 years) (ii) Preparatory phase consisting of 3 years i.e. Grades 3, 4 and 5 (iii) Middle School Education of 3 years (Grades 6, 7 and 8) and (iv) Secondary Education phase of 4 years consisting Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. It is hoped that UDISE+ 2021-22 Report would present the revised set of enrollment-based indicators corresponding to changes recommended in the NEP 2020.

Like UDISE+ 2019-20, UDISE+ 2020-21 also claims that “changes in GER are usually not much on a year-to-year basis” is factually wrong and misleading. This is reflected in the GER at the primary level during 2017-18 and 2018-19 based on UDISE itself presented below.

Enrolment Ratio at Primary & Elementary Level

 

Level

Type of Enrolment Ratio
GER NER Adjusted-NER
2017-18 2018-19 2017-18 2018-19 2017-18 2018-19
Primary 102.79 92.56 90.05 89.14 95.56 93.6
Elementary 97.22 91.64 89.02 81.46 92.73 87.26

School Efficiency Indicators

Indicators through which one can judge the efficiency of the education system have been presented both at the all-India and state levels. Attaining 100 percent NER is a necessary condition but the sufficient condition to achieve universal enrolment is to ensure that whosoever has entered into the system is retained. Good to observe a steep decline in the average annual dropout rate in recent years. At the primary level of education, the dropout rate is 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 which needs further analysis, especially the repetition rate at this level which is reported to be 0.1 percent. The dropout rate is computed based on all schools instead of common schools which had been a practice during 2005-06 to 2017-18 which may produce an underestimate of the dropout rate. Therefore, the dropout rates for the year 2018-19 onwards are not comparable with the same during the years 2005-06 to 2017-18.

The dropout is also low at 1.9 percent per annum at the upper primary level which is encouraging but the same at the secondary level is reported to be 14.6 percent per annum. Further, the transition rate reveals that about 27 percent of students dropped out from the system between secondary to higher secondary level of education and the retention rate at this level of education is only 62 percent indicating a high dropout of 38 percent in between the system. Even retention rate at the elementary level of education is reported to be 81 percent thus indicating about 19 percent of children drop out in between the system from one level of education to another.

If India has to attain the status of universal school education, there is no option but to improve the efficiency of the education system. Hope while formulating annual work plan, adequate strategies will be adopted to check the dropout rate.

Efficiency Indicators

Indicator 2020-21

Boys

Girls

Total

2019-20

Dropout Rate

Primary

0.8

0.7

0.8

1.5

Upper Primary

1.6

2.3

1.9

2.6

Secondary

14.9

14.2

14.6

16.1

Transition Rate

Primary to Upper Primary

92.0

92.3

92.1

92.8

Upper Primary to Secondary

92.4

90.1

91.3

91.4

Secondary to Higher Secondary

72.5

74.1

73.3

71.6

Retention Rate

Primary (1 to 5)

94.7

95.9

95.3

87.0

Elementary (1 to 8)

79.9

82.1

80.9

74.6

Secondary (1 to 10)

61.9

61.1

61.5

59.6

Higher Secondary (1 to12)

42.1

43.6

42.8

40.2

Computer, internet facilities

UDISE data over a period of time suggests that most of the facilities in schools are improving. However, the availability of computers and internet connectivity in schools is far than satisfactory. Only 40 percent of schools have a computer and 24.5 percent have internet connectivity. This is also crucial for UDISE+ which is said to be an online paperless real-time system. It is easy to imagine how schools manage an online information system without the internet and computer in the schools. School officials or teachers rush to block-level offices or nearest cyber cafés to upload and update data online. In one of the larger states, namely Bihar about 86 percent of schools do not have computers compared to 94 percent of schools that do not have got access to internet facilities in school; percentages in the case of Uttar Pradesh is 79 and 94 percent respectively.

Facility All Schools
2019-20 2020-21
Electricity 80.2 83.9
Internet 22.3 24.5
Computer 39.0 39.9

UDISE+ 2019-20, analysis by Prof. Arun C Mehta

Data generated through the Unified District Information System-Plus (UDISE-Plus) collected as on 30th September 2019 was released on 1st of July 2021 by the then Ministry of Education.

Download Full Report

Prof. Arun C Mehta who was associated with DISE/UDISE for more than 15 years has given his observations/comments on a wide range of issues ranging from coverage, data quality and consistency, online system and major outcome of data with regard to universalisation of school education in India which was reported in the both the print and electronic media. His observations can be seen below:

Education ministry’s school data: Hits and Misses, Careers360.com, 2nd July 2021

Is India nearing 100% school enrolment: Yes & No, Times of India, 21st September 2021

Over 43,000 schools out of education database, requires scrutiny: Educationist, Careers360.com, 6th October 2021

Is India nearing 100% school enrolment: Yes & No, Times of India, 21st September 2021

Prof. Arun C Mehta has raised a wide range of issues which, if implemented may help in improving the quality and consistency of U-DISE+ data.

UDISE+ 2019-20 enrolment indicators are based on child population provided by the Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections, National Commission on Population, ministry of health and family welfare, July 2020, which is a welcome development. It may be recalled that even the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20, brought out by the education ministry in June 2021, was not based on the official projections. The following new variables have been added to UDISE+ 2019-20 report, perhaps for the first time.

  1. Number of schools by affiliation board
  2. Percentage of all minority groups’ enrolment, in addition to Muslim enrolment
  3. Coverage of vocational education under National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)
  4. Number of students in Class 1 with pre-school experience
  5. Distribution of enrolment by below age 6, 6-10, 11-13, 9-10, 14-15, 16-17, and greater than 17 years

None of the tables have time-series information like statistics from three years that were available in the previously-published UDISE Flash Statistics. In the absence of this, one has to refer to individual year’s data which like UDISE+2019-20, is not available in the report form, one has to download from the portal. It would be better to bring out UDISE+ 2018-19 report in a more user-friendly format.

At the national level, most of the indicators are compared with 2012-13 UDISE data, the first year of the unification of DISE and SEMIS, but there no comparison of data for the years in between. 2019-20 data has been compared only to 2018-19 ones and that too for a few variables, such as number of teachers.

In addition to the indicators presented, a few indicators such as the source of drinking water, percentage of contractual teachers, GER of Muslim enrolment etc., should have found place in the report.

 Areas of Concern

The most important issue is concerned to coverage in terms of number of schools covered under UDISE+ in the recent years.  The number of schools declined during 2018-19 to 2019-20 is a major area of concern in general and decline in government and aided schools in particular. On the other end, during the same period number of private unaided schools covered under UDISE+ and enrolment in such schools has increased considerably contrary to which the same in case of the government and aided schools declined. It is generally said that schools covered under UDISE+ is declined because of merging of schools and up-gradation of a few existing schools and its attachment to nearby located school.

Table 1: Number of Schools (All Schools)

Year Total Number

of Schools

Increase/Decrease %age Change
2017-18 15,58,903
2018-19 15,51,000 – 7,903 – 0.5
2019-20 15,07,708 – 43,292 – 2.8
2017-18 to 2019-20 – 51,195 – 3.3

Source: UDISE & UDISE, different years. From 1994-95 to 2017-18, DISE/UDISE was maintained by NIEPA, New Delhi, and thereafter by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education, Government of India.

Another major area of concern is consistent decline in enrolment in general and primary enrolment in particular which has got serious impact on India achieving the goal of universal school education.  In some major states, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh the steep decline in enrolment needs further analysis.

Table 2: Enrolment at Primary Level of Education, 2018-19 & 2019-20

Primary

Boys Girls Total
2018-19
Govt. 3,32,88,965 3,42,50,863 6,75,39,828
Govt. Aided 28,94,720 28,35,879 57,30,599
Private unaided 2,33,98,805 1,81,84,573 4,15,83,378
Others 29,26,636 24,49,729 53,76,365
Total 6,25,09,126 5,77,21,044 12,02,30,170
2019-20
Government 3,28,64,878 3,39,10,220 6,67,75,098
Govt. Aided 28,23,185 27,75,718 55,98,903
Private Unaided 2,47,81,907 1,93,86,972 4,41,68,879
Others 27,81,779 23,62,044 51,43,823

Total

6,32,51,749

5,84,34,954

12,16,86,703
Difference in 2018-19 and 2019-20 in absolute numbers
Government -4,24,087 -3,40,643 -7,64,730
Govt. Aided -71,535 -60,161 -1,31,696
Private Unaided 13,83,102 12,02,399 25,85,501
Others -1,44,857 -87,685 -2,32,542
Total 7,42,623 7,13,910 14,56,533

Difference in 2018-19 and 2019-20 in percentage

Government -1.3 -1.0 -1.1
Govt. Aided -2.5 -2.1 -2.3
Private Unaided 5.9 6.6 6.2
Others -4.9 -3.6 -4.3
Total 1.2 1.2 1.2

Source: UDISE+ 2018-19 & 2019-20

UDISE+ 2019-20 reported drastic decline in dropout rate at primary level of education from 4.5 percent in 2018-19 to 1.1 percent in 2019-20 which also need a close link. A priori as it seems that decline in dropout rate is because of considering enrolment of all schools in 2019-20 instead of common schools (as per 2018-19) which gives dropout rate an underestimate of the same. Prior to 2018-19, dropout rate at all the levels of school education was used to compute on the basis of common schools i.e. schools that were covered in both the years enrolment data of which is used to compute average annual dropout rate in view of which the recent dropout rate under UDISE+ in recent years is not comparable with the dropout rate in 2017-18 and previous years. Needless to mention that recently computed indices, such as Performance Grading index either by the NITI Aayog and/or Department of School Education of the Ministry of Education is based on dropout rate which is by logic is not free from the limitations.

Computer & Internet Facilities

UDISE data over a period of time suggests that most of the facilities in schools are improving. However, availability of computers and internet connectivity in schools is far than satisfactory. Only 39 percent schools have a computer and another 22 percent have internet connectivity which has become more important because of the COVID-19 pandemic as classes are being held online. This is also crucial for UDISE+ which is said to be an online paperless system. It is easy to imagine how schools manage without an online system. School officials or teachers rush to block-level offices and cyber cafés to upload and update data online.

Table 3: Electricity, Internet & Computer Facility: All India, 2019-20

Facility

Primary only

All schools

Electricity

72.6

80.2
Internet

7.9

22.3

Computer 20.6

39.0

Because of the online learning classes across the country, it is more important to have the devices and internet connectivity or data package at home. The National Sample Survey Office’s 75th Round data reveals that only 10.7 percent households in India have got a computer and another 23.8 percent have access to internet facilities. But the same in the rural areas is as low as 4.4 and 14.9 percent respectively as against 23.4 and 42 percent in the urban areas. This shows a wide gap in the availability of computers and access to internet facilities between rural and urban areas. One could easily understand the fate of students during a pandemic. One can expect enrolment to decline but at the same time, government schools can expect migration from private schools to its fold which is expected to be reflected in 2020-21 and 2021-22 data.

Education ministry’s school data: Hits and Misses, Careers360.com, 2nd July 2021

Is India nearing 100% school enrolment: Yes & No, Times of India, 21st September 2021

Over 43,000 schools out of education database, requires scrutiny: Educationist, Careers360.com, 6th October 2021

Is India nearing 100% school enrolment: Yes & No, Times of India, 21st September 2021

Enrolment in schools dipped by 3.3m in 10 years: Report, Times of India, 12th December 2021