2.4 lakh school-going children out of official data in Patna

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 28 2012, 09:34am hrs
The government may be hugely understimating the number of students enrolled in primary and upper primary schools in the country. A study by an independent public policy research firm has found that the actual student population at these levels in just one city Patna is 3.4 lakh, higher than the official estimate by about 2.4 lakh.

The study by India Institute has revealed that there are 1,574 schools as opposed to government statistics that shows only 350 schools in Patna. This study with EG West Centre of the Newcastle University has analysed the complete private schools landscape within one city in India.

Classifying private unaided schools into three categories, based on their monthly fee levels, the report noted that 69% of private unaided schools are low cost, 22% affordable, and only 9% higher cost. That is, the vast majority of private unaided schools found in Patna Urban were low cost, charging fees less than R300 per month. In fact, nearly 1 out of 3 children in Patna Urban attend a low cost private school. Incidentally, s recent study in one ward of Patna (number 60) showed that children in private schools had significantly better results in math and reading than government schools. Concerning enrolment, we suggest fully 65% of schoolchildren in Patna attend private unaided schools, with just 34% attending government schools, said Baladevan Rangaraju, director and founder at India Institute.