A fifth of all primary schools had no drinking water facility in the period surveyed

There was an increase of 26.77 per cent in the total number of schools in the country between 2002 and 2009, according to a national survey. The maximum growth rate was witnessed in upper primary schools (49.15 per cent) followed by higher secondary schools (46.80 per cent), secondary by 28.95 and primary by 16.68 per cent.

The provisional flash statistics from the 8th All India Education Survey (AIES) released by the National Council of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) here suggest that one-fifth of the total primary schools did not have drinking water, three out of 10 schools were without usable urinal facilities, and about half of the schools did not have playgrounds between 2002 and 2009.

The survey would be useful for further monitoring of implementation and assessing the impact of policies and programmes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyanand interventions to provide universal access, enrolment, retention and improvement of quality in elementary education and planning for Universalisation of Secondary Education, as well as reflect the status of school education in rural areas.

There were 22,89,94,454 students enrolled in different recognised schools in the country. A growth rate of over 13.67 per cent was reckoned in enrolment from Class I-XII while a 19.12 per cent increase was recorded in girls’ enrolment.

The ratio between girls’ enrolment to the total enrolment decreases the higher the class. The percentage is highest at the primary stage — 48.13 per cent — whereas it is 42.56 per cent at the higher secondary stage. A similar trend is observed in the percentage of girls’ enrolment in schools in rural areas.

The AIES is the most comprehensive national-level survey covering the school education system with respect to access, enrolment, retention, participation in school process, equity, teachers, and availability of basic facilities. The most important strength of this survey is that it captures details till the level of habitations, the smallest-possible population pockets.

Further, there was 30-per-cent increase in the number of teachers in the country. The growth rate in the number of teachers in higher secondary schools increased by 34 per cent during this period while the teaching faculty almost doubled in higher secondary schools.

Pupil-teacher ratio too improved significantly in primary, upper primary and secondary schools. A significant change is observed in primary schools where the ratio has declined from 42:1 to 32:1 at the national level.

The survey encompasses as many as 13, 06,992 recognised schools across the country, out of which more than 84.14 per cent schools are in rural areas. The data includes availability of schooling facilities in habitations at primary and upper primary stages; unrecognised schools having primary/upper primary classes in rural areas along with enrolment; the number of schools belonging to various categories and management; schools according to the type of buildings; availability of basic facilities like drinking water, usable urinal, playground within school premises in different categories of schools in rural as well as urban areas; enrolment of students in different categories of schools; class-wise enrolment and teachers in position in different categories of schools.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 released last week has said 73 per cent of schools in rural India had drinking water facilities, 56 per cent had usable toilet facilities and 48 per cent had separate toilet facilities for girls.

The ASER report said 42.8 per cent of schools complied with RTE norms between 2010-12. All schools must comply with nine indicators, including that of infrastructure and teacher-pupil ratio by March 31, this year.

The report said that the enrolment level for 6-14 years age-group, at 96.5 per cent, continued to be high. However, the proportion of children not enrolled went up from 3.3 per cent in 2011 to 3.5 per cent in 2012, with the increase being largest for girls in the 11-14 age-group.