Wilima Wadhwa writes:
- The latest ASER (Annual Status of Education Report), an annual survey of learning facilitated by NGO Pratham, indicates that at the all-India level, private school enrolment increased from 16.3% in 2005 to around 22.6% in 2008—a rise of around 40%. In 2009, private school enrolment has marginally dropped to 21.8% in rural
- Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Kerala where private school enrolment is as high as 40%, and on the other are Bihar and West Bengal with private school enrolment closer to 5%.
- In 2009, in classes I-V, the percentage of children in government schools who could read at least at the class I level was 43.6%. The corresponding figure in private schools was 52.2%—a whopping 8.6 percentage points advantage.
- Once we control for characteristics other than the type of school, the learning differential between government and private schools falls drastically from 8.6 percentage points to 2.9 percentage points— from 20% to a measly 5%.
- In the case of English, the starting differential is greater and the narrowing a little less. The percentage of children in classes I-V who can read simple words (or more) in English is 26.5% compared with 44.2% in private schools—an advantage of 17.7 percentage points, or 67%.
- Once we control for other factors, this differential falls to 10.8 percentage points, or 41%. Hence, around 40% of the observed differential in English learning levels between government and private schools can be attributed to other factors.
- In the case of reading in the local language, in many cases most of the learning differentials disappear once other factors are controlled for—Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. For Madhya Pradesh, the difference is actually reversed— once other factors are controlled for, government schools perform better than private schools. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where government schools had higher learning levels to start with, the gap widens once other factors are taken into account.
- In the case of English, in most states, the starting differentials are greater and the narrowing of the differentials smaller as was the case for all of
. However, there are still states such as Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where two-thirds of the learning difference is attributable to factors other than private schooling. India