Between the years 2011 and 2016, there has been a very significant decline in the enrolment of students in Assam’s State-run primary schools. According to official records, the number of government schools in Assam increased by just five per cent between 2011-12 and 2015-16, whereas the number of private schools increased by 66 per cent during the same period. However, it is not the increase in the number of schools that is as significant as the increase in the enrolment of students. Enrolment in government-run schools came down from 55,70,754 students in 2010-11 to 44,55,195 students in 2015-16. By contrast, in the much smaller number of English-medium private schools, enrolment went up from 315,645 in 2010-11 to 676,858 in 2015-16. Against a decrease of 27.47 per cent in government-run primary schools, there was an increase of 114 per cent in enrolment in the English-medium private schools. This may not seem very significant because the number of students in government-run primary schools was 17.65 times what it was in the private schools in 2010-11 and 7.02 times in 2015-16. But what is certainly very significant is that despite a much larger number of children attending government-run primary schools, the slide from 17.65 times the number of private schools to just 7.02 times in a matter of just four years speaks volumes for both the popularity and quality of the private schools in comparison to the government-run schools. Another very significant and alarming fact is that as many as 238 State-run lower primary schools and 15 upper primary schools should have reported zero enrolment in March 2016. There are 62 teachers posted in the first lot of 238 lower primary schools and 26 in the 15 upper primary schools. The teachers were drawing their salaries without having to do any work. [It passes our understanding as to how 62 teachers could have looked after 238 schools, but perhaps several of the schools probably had no enrolment because there were no teachers.] In any case, this is the kind of situation that has been the undoing of our government schools—poor teaching or none at all.
Of State-run Schools