Student enrolments in the RTE era

The RTE Act, as well all know, was brought into effect in the year 2009. The Act proclaims to guarantee education for every child, aged between 6 and 14, in the country.

The Act reserves 25% of seats in all schools for SC/ST, EBC and DG groups, except in private schools owned by non-Hindus.

There have been number of quality articles analysing this Act from multiple perspectives on the Internet.

In this post, let us try to look at some statistics that are central to the goals of the RTE Act.

  1. Total student enrolment numbers
    1. The primary school segment is the most important one with respect to enrolment. The benefit of the 25% reservation should be most visible here.
  2. Percentage of SC and ST student enrolments
    1. This number is an indication of what percentage of seats in schools are the target segments actually getting.

Source for the below numbers are from DISE. The numbers for this source should be valid for us because the Ministry of Human Resources Department, Government of India itself uses this as a credible source.

1) First the student enrolment numbers from the pre-RTE era till 2015-16

Year Enrolment (Class 1 to 5) Comments
2007-08 13,41,32,183  
2008-09 13,43,77,324  
2009-10 13,34,05,581 RTE Act passed
2010-11 13,52,07,057  
2011-12 13,70,99,984 SC judgement exempting Unaided Minority schools from RTE
2012-13 13,47,84,272  
2013-14 13,24,28,440 SC judgement exempting Aided Minority schools from RTE
2014-15 13,05,01,135  
2015-16 12,91,22,784

Key observations:

  • Prior to RTE, no clear pattern with respect to enrolment numbers
  • Post RTE, there is a visible increase in enrolment numbers in 2010-11 and 2011-12
  • In 2012, in the Society for Un-aided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India judgement, the Supreme Court of India exempted Private Unaided Minority Schools from RTE. After this, the total enrolment numbers started declining
  • In 2014, in the Pramati Educational & Cultural … vs Union Of India judgement, the Supreme Court of India exempted even the Private Aided Minority Schools from RTE. The decline of the student enrolments continues
  • Note that the decline is happening in spite of obvious increases in total population in the country, a natural side-effect of which should have been that the numbers should have shown an upward trend

2) SC students: Enrolment percentages

Year %age SC students enrolment from classes 1 to 7 Comments
2007-08 19.83  
2008-09 19.72  
2009-10 19.81  
2010-11 19.06  
2011-12 19.80  
2012-13 20.24  
2013-14 19.72  
2014-15 19.80 SC enrollments going down
2015-16 19.94

Key observations:

  • Even after introduction of RTE, no significant increase in enrolment percentages of SC students
  • After Pramati judgement exempting minority schools, the enrolment percentage of SC students seems to be decreasing

3) ST students: Enrolment percentages

Year %age ST students enrolment from classes 1 to 7 Comments
2007-08 10.95  
2008-09 11.04  
2009-10 10.93  
2010-11 10.70  
2011-12 10.92  
2012-13 10.85  
2013-14 10.63  
2014-15 10.47 ST enrollments going down
2015-16 10.64

Key observations:

  • No visible change in ST student enrolments due to introduction of RTE
  • However, post Pramati judgement, the percentages are going down

Overall Observations:

  • The introduction of RTE did not show any marked improvements in student enrolments
  • However, after the exemption of the non-Hindu schools from RTE, the total student enrolments seem to be *actually declining*
  • The introduction of RTE has not shown any marked increase in SC/ST student enrolment percentages
  • However, post exclusion of non-Hindu schools, the enrolment percentages are actually showing a downward trend

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