Government school enrolment in Assam saw a rise during Covid pandemic, says education minister

The minister stated that despite fears of dropouts brought on by the pandemic, the Education Department's analysis of enrollment data for all students in Classes 1 through 12 revealed a rise in the overall number of pupils.

PTIUpdated: Sunday, July 31, 2022, 08:38 PM IST
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Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu | Twitter

Guwahati: During the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, Assam has seen a steady increase in the number of students enrolled in government institutions, in large part because of the financial strain on the families, according to Education Minister Ranoj Pegu. The epidemic has had a general influence on school education, but many parents have chosen to enrol their children in government-run institutions because of the teaching quality that has steadily improved, the minister told PTI in an interview.

Education Minister said, "We have seen a rise in enrolment in government schools during and after the pandemic. This is good news for us. This development can be attributed to many factors." He explained that the financial impact of the pandemic has forced many parents to shift their children to free government schools from the private ones with high monthly fees.

"Another factor is an overall improvement in quality of education in government schools. We have been taking various steps over the last few years to improve the quality and the result is showing now," Minister Ranoj Pegu said.

The minister stated that despite fears of dropouts brought on by the pandemic, the Education Department's analysis of enrollment data for all students in Classes 1 through 12 revealed a rise in the overall number of pupils. The total number of pupils in all government, aided, and non-private schools in Assam has climbed by more than 63,000 during the 15-month Covid-19 epidemic period starting in September 2020, according to official data.

"It is a matter of worry for us. The pass percentage has not improved this year compared to pre-pandemic years. We conducted special remedial classes. However, we could not touch all the schools and all the students," he said. Education Minister stated that the performance of the rural schools went down compared to the urban ones as the online mode could not reach everyone. "We were not prepared with this online teaching system. Many study materials and teaching mechanisms were developed during the course of the last two years. Now we are prepared for any situation," he said.

The Board of Secondary Education, Assam's Class 10 matriculation test had a pass rate for 2022 of 56.49 percent (SEBA). Following the cancellation of the state board exams for Class 10 in 2021 due to the pandemic, the results were announced based on a grading scheme developed by an expert committee. The passing rate increased dramatically from 64.8% in 2020 to 93.1% last year. According to the SEBA's findings, it was 60.23 percent in 2019 and 56.04 percent in 2018.

With 72,097 new students being admitted over the course of the 15-month period, the primary sector, which includes Classes 1 through 8, has seen the biggest increase in enrollment. In Assam's non-private schools, the elementary division had 44,92,085 students in September 2020; by November 2021, that number had risen to 45,64,182. During the time period under consideration, enrollment in higher secondary schools with Class 11 and 12 increased by 27,211, from 3,17,446 to 3,44,657 students.

The secondary classes, which are comprised of Classes 9 and 10, were the only area where enrollment fell. From 8,11,672 students in November of previous year to 7,75,648 students in November of last year, there were a total of 36,024 fewer pupils in the secondary sections. According to the official data, Classes 5, 6, 9 and 12 had decreases in student enrollment when compared to other standards, while the other classes saw a rise in new students.

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