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ASER Report: Sharp increase in demand for private tuition

January 20, 2023
Reshma Ravishanker 

The percentage of students opting for paid private tuition after school saw a sharp increase in 2022, says the recently released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).

The Pratham Foundation’s first full-fledged report post the Covid-19 pandemic highlights significant learning loss, increase in demand for private tuitions and higher school enrollments in rural India.

The report found that the demand for private tuition that had been flat at about 25% for many years, rose sharply. At the all-India level, students opting for tuition went up from 26% in 2018 to 30% in 2022. However, individual states showed varied trends. The numbers in Bihar and Jharkhand were high — 70% children in Bihar and 45% in Jharkhand are taking tuition in 2022 as compared to only 10% children in Himachal Pradesh and 15% in Maharashtra.

“It is entirely possible that this supplemental help in the form of tuition was successful in restricting the learning loss in these states. Tuition could also be behind the lower learning loss in math as compared to reading – anecdotally we know that tuition is used more for subjects like math and science rather than for reading,” said the report.

Researchers believe that migration of people from urban to rural areas during the pandemic could be associated with better spending ability among families even during the period of Covid-19 pandemic induced financial distress.

“Over the past decade, rural India has seen small, steady increases in the proportion of children in Std I-VIII taking paid private tuition classes. Between 2018 and 2022 this proportion increased further, among students in both government and private schools. Nationally, the proportion of children in Std I-VIII taking paid private tuition classes increased from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022. In Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, the proportion of children taking paid private tuition increased by 8 percentage points or more over 2018 levels,” states ASER.

The numbers were alike for government and private school students — 30.9% government students, 29.7% private school students attended tuitions.

Comments Nagasimha G Rao, director, Child Rights Trust, Bangalore: “In the name of making up for the learning loss suffered during the pandemic, schools have created undue pressure on students. Private schools have increased tests in the name of getting measurable learning outcomes. Hence children are under pressure to take tuition classes. Also schools are in a hurry to finish syllabus. Sports day, extracurricular activities have been cut off completely and that time is dedicated to academics. Even those parents against tuition in villages are now forced to enroll their children in tuition classes, some 1-2 km away. This trend of a rising number of children taking up private tuition is not a good sign.”  

Also read: Children’s reading ability drops to pre-2012 levels: ASER report

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