CAN AN INCREASE IN ALLOCATION IN THE EDUCATION BUDGET, GUARANTEE BETTER QUALITY IN EDUCATION???
It has always been a debatable question- is quality of education related to allocation of funds by government in the budget. A survey conducted in America during period 2004-07 found that most of the adult list insufficient funding is the biggest problem in quality education. In India, also many people believe that lack of funding is the biggest problem in public quality education and this view may be common, but the question is – is there enough evidence to blame the government for poor quality of education. Historical trends (Graph- 1) show spending on public education has grown almost 30 times from 1985-2011.
State expenditure on education (Table 1) has also grown up in last 7 years. Taken together, states have spent around Rs. 2.6 lakh crore, in fiscal year 2012-13, which is 13% increase over 2011-12 . This money has spent on setting up new schools, colleges and universities; providing free laptops and scholarships bicycles to students.
Table 1: Expenditure on Education* – As Ratio to Aggregate Expenditure
Given the significant increase in fund allocated to public Education, it would be considerable to note weather the increased government spending on education has led to a better result as student outcomes. In the recent decades, the key focus of Education budget has been to attract more students especially girls and disadvantaged students (below the poverty line family children, SC & ST Students) towards school and reduce the gender biasness in society.
Analysis of quantitative data like Students achievement and education, enrollment, dropout and teacher pupil ratio will help to determine whether further increases in funds allocated for education can be expected to yield more improvements in students’ performance.
Passing rate of students in secondary and senior secondary school provide another historical barometer of Indian educational performance. Table 2 shows the comparison of high school examination results from the year 2005 – 2010. A comparison of results during these years at all India level reveals that the number of students who appeared in the Secondary School Examination has increased from 121.6 lakh in 2005 to 171 lakh in the year 2010. The overall pass percentage of students has also increased from 62.5 to 75.4. In the secondary school examination, the female participation increased from 68 girls for 100 boys in 2005 to 76 girls for 100 boys in 2010.
Whereas comparing the Higher Secondary Examination results (Table 3) at all India level reveals the number of students who appeared in the Higher Secondary Examination has increased from 67.64lakh in 2005 to 104 lakh in the year 2010 showing an annual average growth rate of 5.5%. In the Higher Secondary Examination, the female participation increased from 71 girls for 100 boys in 2005 to 78 girls for 100 boys in 2010. Pass percentage of girls over the year remained higher than boys, and it has increased from 74.4 % in 2005 to 81.5 % in 2010. The average pass percentage has also increased marginally from 70.27% in 2005 to 77.35% in 2010.
Enrollment (Graph-II) in primary school remains almost same from 2007 to 2010 for boys, but the dropout rate (Graph –V) has significantly increased by 17 % from 24.57 lakh to 28.7 lakh in between the period 2007 to 2010. Whereas the dropout in middle school and High school have significantly dropped by 45 % and 17 %.
In comparison to boys enrollment of girls (Graph-II) in primary school has increased by 4 % from 62.63 lakh to 64.85 lakhs from 2007 to 2010. While the dropout rate (Graph –VI) has also decreased by 6%, 14%, 58% in primary, middle and high school from 2007 to 2010.
In recent years from 2007 to 2010 teacher pupil ratio (Graph – VI) has also increased. In primary school, it has increased by 16 % from 44 to 51 from 2007 to 2010. Similarly, in middle school it has increased by 27% from 34 to 43 from 2007 to 2010. Interestingly teacher pupil ration in senior secondary school remains same.
X- is appeared student in examination
Y- is passed student in examination
The evidence of Students achievement and Education spending leads to the following conclusion:
- Spending on public education is still rising. Many people believe that a lack of resources is a primary problem in public education but evidence shows, real spending on per student has increased by 17.5 % in last seven years.
- Increased Spending and female education. Enrollment of girls in primary school has increased in recent year by 4%, and dropout rate has declined by 6%. Similarly dropout has also declined in the middle and high school, but this change might be happening due to societal change.
- Continuous spending increased has corresponded with equal improvement in Indian educational performance. Passing rate of students in secondary and senior secondary school has increased from the year 2005 – 2010. Evidence also indicates, in High School Examination the overall pass percentage of students increased from 62.5 lakh to 75.4 lakh. Similarly in Higher Secondary Examination result, it shows a growth at annual average rate of 5.5% from 67.64lakh in 2005 to 104 lakh in the year 2010. The average pass percentage has also increased from 70.27% in 2005 to 77.35% in 2010.
- Teacher Pupil ratio. Increased continuous spending has helped in maintain the teacher pupil ratio in against the increased no. of students. Though it is not up to the standard, but it has helped in maintain a constant ratio over the years in all level of schools.
Indian historical educational trends and other evidence suggest that simply increasing fund allocation, in the budget can led to corresponding improvement in academic achievement but policy makers should also focus on more effective implementation of various promotional plans among masses, which may lead to more enrollment in primary schools and less dropouts. As data suggests enrollment in primary schools has not increased and dropout rates for boys has increased by 17% since 2005, despite of continuous increase in spending on various programs like Mid-Day Meal, free education for female , scholarships for meritorious student government has failed to convince parents , how education is worth for their children.
 PRS Legislative research: http://mla.prsindia.org/sites/default/files/policy_guide/State%20wise%20spend%20on%20education_0.pdf
 Rose, L. c., & Gallup, A. M. (September 2007). The 39th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools. Phi Delta Kappan.