School pupil numbers in steady decline: Report

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu
School pupil numbers in steady decline: Report

Jul 13, 2015-Schools enrolments have continued to decrease for the past three consecutive years owing to a sharp decline in population growth and government crackdown on fake institutes.

The government economic survey released on Monday shows that students from grade one to 10 have dropped to 7,071,253 in the last academic session from 7,444,134 in 2011 though the promotion rate and net enrolment rate have been improving every year. The total enrolment, which was in the upward trend until a decade ago, started to dip after 2011. Of the total 7,444,134 students who were enrolled into the school system in 2011, a staggering 166,202 dropped out of schools to leave 7,277,932 in the next academic session. The number continued to dip, to 7,127,050 in 2013 and 7,071,253 left behind in the last academic session.

The report shows the student numbers decreased by 372,881--by over five percent--in the total enrolmnet over three years, while the net enrolment rate has increased by over one percent during the same period. Similarly, the promotion rate too has increased remarkably to 76 percent in the primary level from 72.4 percent in 2011.

According to the report, the decline in the student numbers at the basic level (grade one to eight) has led to the overall drop though the enrolment is increasing at the secondary level. While the number of students has decreased by 424,897 from 2011 to 2014, their numbers at the secondary level have increased by 52,016 during the same period. Education expert Bidhya Nath Koirala sees the decrease in the population growth rate, crackdown on fake schools and the introduction of student tracking system by the Department of Education (DoE) are the reason behind the decline. The national census shows the population growth rate which was 2.25 percent in 2001 fell to 1.40 percent in 2011.

“The decrease is natural and it will continue in the days to come as the new generation is checking the birth rate,” said Koirala, while attributing more to government’s crackdown on fake schools for the decline in student numbers. The Ministry of Education has scrapped more than 600 public schools after the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority found that they reported hundreds of fake students in a bid to receive more government funds.

The sharp decline in the enrolment has led to closure  or merger of hundreds of public schools in the last three years.  A DoE report shows over 3 percent or 1,070 of the public schools in the country, mainly from Tarai have either been closed or merged until March. There are 29,525 public schools across the country.

Published: 14-07-2015 07:38

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