A broken education system that produces the smarts

Education, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, RTE Act, Privatisation, Government school
Classrooms are on the verge of shutting down for various reasons. Photo: iStock

Tamil Nadu, along with the other southern states, is known for its focus on the education sector. Aside from stereotypes of churning out software engineers, it is one of the best performing states in elementary education and its schools are known for being accessible to children, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. However, if one looks at the number of schools in the state, it tells another story — there are just 58,033 schools in total. Out of this, 61 per cent or 35,000 are only primary schools.

In comparison, states like Assam (71,042), Odisha (70,300) and Bihar (84,236) have more schools. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with the most number of schools.

However, it makes up for coming in 12th in the list of number of schools in each state at the college level. Tamil Nadu has a higher education gross enrollment ratio (GER) — 47 per cent — than most states (i.e. one in two kids who join class 1 in Tamil Nadu will enrol in a college course). Uttar Pradesh has a GER of 18 per cent though it has over a lakh schools.

The downside to the high GER is, since 61 per cent of all schools in Tamil Nadu are primary schools and the state has a very low school dropout rate, the pressure on secondary and higher secondary schools increases. This is where the cracks in the state’s education system are the most prominent.

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