Recently, Gujarat government claimed that it had achieved the enrollment of 99 percent in the schools through various drives in the state but, records show that a large number of children remain untracked in 2017 and 2018.
According to the records of the Civil Registration System (CRS), the state government has recorded 12,14,550 births in the state in 2011. Fast forward 5 years i.e. 2016-17 when a child turns five or six (school-going age) records show that only 7,00,245 children were enrolled in government schools, 3,81,255 in private schools and 45,365 in private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
This leaves behind 87,685 children (nearly 7 percent) which remain untracked in any of the official records of the government.
Similarly in 2012, according to the CRS data 12,15,066 childbirths were recorded but admission data under DISE shows that 6,95,537 children were enrolled in government schools, 3,90,882 in private schools and another 55,100 got enrolled under the RTE Act. Here, 73,547 children remain untracked in the state records.
When questioned about these untracked children, principal secretary, education, Vinod Rao said, “We are aware of these numbers and that is why the aim of the upgraded Praveshotsav 2.0 is to trace all the children and enroll them during the drive which will continue till August 31. However, we cannot also rule out the possibility that these students are enrolled in some private schools where there has been no data entry.”
Time and again the state government has claimed that is has achieved 99 percent enrollment in schools through special drives such as shala praveshotsav, kanya kelavani mahotsav and Vidyalakshmi bond.
According to the official records of the government, the enrollment for the boys in 2015-16 was 99.05, which touched the scale of 99.34 in 2016-17 and 99.28 in 2017-18. Similarly, for the girls the numbers show that enrollment was 98.22 in 2016-17 and reached 98.92, and 98.99 in 2017-18.
“The fact that here we are talking about enrollment only should be kept in mind too. So far, there was no system to check whether these are actual enrollments or merely on papers to impress the officials or to escape from inquiries on low enrollment numbers,” said a senior education official.