PRIVATE-AIDED and private-unaided schools dominate the school education system in Maharashtra with a lion’s share of state spending, a study by the Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability (CBGA) and Child Relief and You (CRY) claims. According to the survey, the state dedicates around 40 per cent of its budget towards private-aided and unaided schools, even though 69 per cent of all elementary schools are government-run. The portion has remained almost unchanged for four years. This ‘mismatch’ in budgetary provisions affects quality of education in government schools, claimed the study, adding the situation is worse in secondary schools. With the government running just 7.7 per cent of schools, private-aided schools formed 65.1 per cent of all secondary schools, while private-unaided formed 27.2 per cent.
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“Owing to the lack of government-run secondary schools and their poor quality of education, students either drop out or are forced to join private schools after their primary education,” said Protiva Kundu, a researcher from CBGA.
For every 100 schools in the state, only 21 offer secondary education, out of which two are government-run. Seven of them offer higher education, of which one is government-run.
“The deteriorating quality of learning in government schools is a serious issue in public provisioning for the education sector,” read the report, released Tuesday.
The researchers had analysed budgetary allocation for education in 10 states — Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Data from three consecutive years was collected through funds disbursed by the Central or state departments
In 2015-16, Maharashtra had allocated 18.1 per cent of its total budget to school education — highest for the corresponding component among the 10 states. Rs 740 crore were invested in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rs 180 crore towards computer training, along with an outlay of Rs 137.44 crore for quality education to secondary school students. For girls hostels, Rs 50 crore was earmarked.
However, teacher training was apparently not a priority for the state as only 0.4 per cent of the school-education budget was earmarked for training. Inspection and monitoring, too, took a backseat with 0.5 per cent allocation. Teachers’ salary formed the biggest component of the budget with 69 per cent.
“While teachers’ salaries are being taken care of, hardly any public funds are kept for training the teachers. This further affects the quality of education,” said Kundu.