Almost 40 per cent of children in India are taking paid private tuition classes, as per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021. “The largest increases in the proportion of children taking tuition are seen among children from the most disadvantaged households,” the report stated.

There has been an increase in the number of children taking private tuition across India (from 32.5 per cent in 2020 to 39.2 per cent in 2021). The incidence of tuition has increased across almost all states – perhaps a natural response to prolonged school closure. In Uttar Pradesh, 32.9 per cent of students were taking tuition in 2020 which increased to 38.7 per cent in 2021. In Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, there was an increase of 12.7, 12.1, 18.8 and 11.4 per cent, respectively. In Tamil Nadu and Meghalaya, the per cent of such students has almost doubled.

Haryana, as an exception, has emerged as the only state where the tuition dependency has decreased from last year. In Haryana, a total of 37.3 per cent of children were taking tuition in 2020, which dropped to 27.6 per cent in 2021.

The probable reason could be the mushrooming of private schools, says Pradeep Kumar Choudhury, Assistant Professor, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

“In Haryana, group tuition are more preferred than individual classes. Besides, Haryana is among the few states where private schools are growing at a very fast pace. States where privatisation of education is high, lesser parents are choosing tuition as supplement for their children’s education,” Choudhury adds.

ASER 2021 report also sheds light on Choudhury’s viewpoint. In the northern and north-western states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, private school incidence is relatively high and tuition-taking is low. In contrast, in the eastern states like West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, private schooling is low but tuition still remains an important factor.

“In 2018, well over 50 per cent of children of school-going age in Odisha, Bihar and West Bengal were taking some form of tuition classes. In 2021, this figure has crossed 60 per cent in Odisha and well over 70 per cent in Bihar and West Bengal,” the report added.

Pankaj Arora, associate professor, Central Institute of Education, Delhi University (DU), attributes Haryana’s exception to the “lack of seriousness for academics”.

“I am currently supervising a PhD research on a similar topic in a Haryana village. The findings show a relative picture that people in Haryana still do not value quality education. Their understanding of a better lifestyle is not limited to a well-paying job or academics. From a young age, children automatically get inclined towards business and not jobs. Hence, not enough attention is paid to providing tuitions as a supplement to fulfil academic requirements,” Arora says.

Another factor behind the lesser number of students taking tuition in Haryana could be the demography of the state. Neeraj Mohan Puri, principal of Satyug Darshan Vidyalaya in Faridabad, says that most schools in Haryana are located in rural parts, where tuitions are not available.

“Most villages in Haryana have government schools located nearby and most often, teachers who get posted in these schools also start living in the villages to avoid the excessive commute. Hence, such students do not look for alternatives such as tuition due to the support of a teacher in close proximity. When teachers were asked to deliver online classes from school premises, it is possible that students in rural parts often attended these classes in-person,” Puri says.

Sheetal BanchariyaSheetal Banchariya is a Senior Sub-Editor at the Indian Express. The D… read more

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