Karthik Menon, Lead Operations, Government Partnerships at Pratham, told The Quint, “Due to the hardships faced during the pandemic, parents could not pay the school fee. As a result, many shifted from private schools to government schools. Another reason is that many low-cost private schools in rural areas had to shut down because they were unable to pay their staff, teachers, etc.”
In states such as Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Kerala, enrollment in government schools was at its highest this year. While in UP, the enrollment increased from 44.3 percent in 2018 to 59.6 percent in 2022, in Kerala, it increased from 48 percent in 2018 to 64.5 percent in 2022. In most states across north India, enrollment in government schools saw a jump.
Meanwhile, in the eastern states where enrollment in government schools was already higher than that in private schools, even more students moved away from private schools. For instance, in West Bengal, government school enrollment has increased from 88.1 percent to 92.2 percent in the last four years.
An article written by Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham, in the ASER report, read, “The rise in government school enrollment can be attributed to several possible contributing factors. For example, if family income goes down or becomes more uncertain, it is likely that parents may not be able to afford private school fee. Hence, they are likely to pull their children out of private schools and put them in government schools, where at least until the end of the compulsory stage, education is free (till grade VIII).”