Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—Himachal Pradesh seems to losing to Punjab in education indicators if the study of ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB) is of any indication. Pressures and demands are always there in education sector. In the past, notwithstanding these bottlenecks, the state government succeeded in notching up many successes in the education sector. Now the state has lagged behind in some of the indicators to other states.
In the recent past, Himachal Pradesh has lost some of the best indicators in terms of education. Even J and K seem to take over Himachal Pradesh in the education sector. The state is ranked at the bottom among the 20 best performing States in terms of growth in student enrolment with minus 1.9 per cent between 2007-2008 and 2013-14 in the country. It is revealed in a recent study conducted by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).
While student enrolment grew at just over one per cent CAGR across the country during the cited period, Punjab has emerged as the leading State with a CAGR of about 8 per cent in terms of growth in student enrolment following by Haryana 5 per cent and Gujarat 3 per cent, according to a study titled, ”States Emergence: A comparative Analysis of Growth and Development.
Himachal Pradesh only marked its noticeable presence in student-teacher ratio. The State has ranked on top with students per teacher ratio of 11 followed by J&K (12) and Kerala (15) while in India, there were about 26 students per teacher as of 2013-14 as against 33 students per teacher in 2007-08. MP has ranked 13th with just over 13 per
Punjab’s performance in terms of student per teacher ratio has improved remarkably as from a level of 32 students per teacher in 2007-08 has improved to 17 students per teacher in 2013-14 and ranked fourth highlighted the study. In terms of growth in the number of schools, Punjab ranked on top with 6.5 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) followed by Kerala with 5.4 per cent and Jammu and Kashmir 5.3 per cent while nationally the number of schools grew at a CAGR of 2.5 per cent during the aforesaid period, states the study.
The study further states that Punjab has registered highest growth rate of about 20 per cent CAGR during the aforesaid period as the number of teachers in the state have increased from 79,750 to over 2.36 lakhs. While in Himachal Pradesh 943 government primary schools have only one teacher each. The situation is grimmer in the districts of Shimla, Mandi, Sirmaour and Kangra, as per official data.
However, Punjab has proved to be a laggard in terms of expenditure incurred on education as per cent of its GSDP. With just 4.3 per cent is being incurred on education, Punjab is ranked only ahead of Gujarat (3.3 per cent) among top 20 states of the country. Assam (10.8 per cent), Bihar (10.7 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (9.4 per cent) are leading in terms of expenditure incurred on education as percentage of their respective GSDP. While nationally 1.3 per cent of the GDP is being incurred on education sector related expenditures.
Punjab is also ranked as fourth leading state as 52 per cent of schools in the state had computer facility in 2013-14 as against about 31 per cent in 2007-08, while Kerala (93 per cent), Gujarat (73 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (54 per cent) are top three states in this regard, the study noted. In India, about 23 per cent of schools had computer facility as of 2013-14 as against about 14 per cent in 2007-08.
“There is an urgent need to increase investments to develop human capital needed to meet those challenges,: said Mr D.S. Rawat, National Secretary General of ASSOCHAM.
“Merely increasing the number of higher educational institutions and their enrolment capacity will not achieve national developmental goals without concurrent attention to quality and its access to all those who desire it,” he added.