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Number of admissions in Maharashtra govt schools sees a jump; private school enrolment dips

The number of admissions at government schools in Maharashtra has seen a noticeable jump in academic year 2021-22 as compared to last year. While 2020-21 saw 7,61,674 new admissions in government schools, the figure rose by 1.4 lakh to 9,03,701 in 2021-22.

On the contrary, the number of new admissions in private schools has dropped from 5,68,190 in 2020-21 to 5,24,113 in 2021-22, according to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) data released on Friday.

According to several in the field, the financial insecurity during the pandemic has led many parents to turn to government or aided schools as opposed to private schools with exorbitant fees.

With the entire education sector recovering post-pandemic, the overall enrolment of students has seen a slight increase. The total student enrolment in Maharashtra in academic year 2020-21 was 22,511,839 which has risen to 22,586,695 in 2021-22.

However, there has been a sharp decrease in the number of schools, indicating that many had to close down.

There were a total of 1,10,114 schools, including government, aided and private, in Maharashtra in academic year 2020-21. In 2021-22, the figure dropped to 1,09,605.

Out of the total 509 schools which closed down in Maharashtra, highest figure belonged to private sector. As against 19,632 private schools recorded in 2020-21, Maharashtra now has 19,268 private schools, indicating closure of 364 schools. In comparison, only 95 government schools have closed down during the period. As per the UDISE data, there were 65,734 government schools in the academic year 2020-21; the number dropped to 65,639 in 2021-22.

Jaywant Kulkarni, a senior teacher from a school in Kurla, said, “In absence of grants, fees are the major revenue generation source for most private schools. But many have been charging exorbitantly high fees. At the same time, disputes over fees during the pandemic saw many private schools struggling for survival. On the other hand, government schools, especially civic-run schools in urban areas, started offering sought-after curriculum which attracted new generation-parents towards them.”

According to Nitin Dalvi, Mumbai head of the Maharashtra Rajya Vidyarthi Palak Shikshan Mahasangha, a parents’ organisation: “The government schools have been able to draw many new admissions amid the pandemic. However, they need to raise the standard of their services to retain the additional students.”

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