Private schools still a pipe dream for poor in Bihar

A decade after Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which mandated that 25% of seats in private schools be reserved for the poor children, Bihar presents a sorry picture in terms of the implementation of the landmark law, as revealed in a reply from state government under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

For instance, in Arwal district, just 73 poor children got admission in private schools in 2016-17 while Sheohar fared marginally better with 213 such admissions.

Far more shocking has been the performance in Patna district. Hardly 936 poor children got admission in private schools in 2016-17. In Nalanda, the home district of chief minister Nitish Kumar, the figure stood at 1,532.

Darbhanga fared the best, with 4,329 poor children being admitted into private schools during 2016-17. Nawada came second with 4,300.

So far a the total number the poor children who got enrolled in private schools between 2011-12 and 2016-17 is concerned, Arwal again remained at the bottom with only 258 such admissions, followed by Shiekhpura (995).

Muzaffarpur fared the best in this five-year period, during which 7,782 poor children got admissions in private schools. Darbhanga (7,218), Nalanda (6,328) and Nawada (6,320) were also among the better off district in terms of education for poor children.

In Patna district, hardly 2,793 poor children were admitted into private schools during the five-year period.

“While the situation in Arwal is depressing, far more surprising is the performance of the state capital where the number of private schools is be very high,” said Shivprasad Rai, the RTI activist who had sought the information.

“Education department has also informed me that some amount, to be made to schools for such students, is due and will be cleared soon. Lapses seem to be at various levels,” he said.

Asked why he did not get the date for the last two years, Rai said, “I had asked for latest data as well, but the education department perhaps did not want to share the same. Even for this incomplete information, I had to struggle a lot. I had sought the information in March, but there was no response. In May, I moved the appellate authority and managed to procure the limited details.”

Giriwar Dayal Singh, additional secretary, education department, was not available to comment.

Five top districts Number of poor children enrolled in private school during 2016-17

*Darbhanga 4,329

*Nawada 4,300

*Saharsa 2,610

*Rohtas 2010

*Gopalganj 1,870

Five districts from the bottom poor children enrolled in private school during 2016-17

* Arwal 73

*Sheohar 213

* Gaya 232

*Khagaria 293

*Kishanganj 573

Five top districts poor children enrolled in private school from 2011-12 to 2016-17

* Muzaffarpur 7,782

* Darbhanga 7,218

* Nalanda 6,328

*Nawada 6,320

*Saharsa 4,918

Five districts from the bottom poor children enrolled in private school during 2016-17

* Arwal 258

* Shiekhpura 995

* Sheohar 1,003

*Khagaria 1070

* Lakhisarai, 1,342

(Source: Education department)

First Published:
Jun 16, 2019 09:03 IST

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