Statsguru: India's education woes

The poor performance of India’s educational institutions on global rankings continues unabated. 

Not a single Indian University has made it to the top 100 list of the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2018, yet again. In fact, in the latest report, some institutions have actually slid down the rankings. As Chart 1 shows, the Indian Institute of Science, which was ranked in the 201-250 group last year, has now fallen to 251-300.

On the other hand, enrolment rates are up. As shown in Chart 2, gross enrolment rates in the secondary, senior secondary and higher education categories have risen sharply over the past decade.

The education infrastructure, too, has seen an improvement over the past decade and a half, as shown in Chart 3. But notwithstanding this improvement in infrastructure, educational outcomes remain abysmal. As shown in Chart 4, less than half the children in class V can read class II level texts. On math skills, the situation is equally grim.

As shown in Chart 5, barely 26 per cent of children in class V can divide and an even lower percentage can subtract. On the critical pupil to teacher ratio, India fares poorly compared to most of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), as shown in Chart 6. Not surprisingly then, Indian students have fared abysmally in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) — a survey India has refused to participate in since 2010. 

It is worrying that despite such poor outcomes, government expenditure on education has barely budged over the past decade, as shown in Chart 7. 

StatsGuru is a weekly feature. Every Monday, Business Standard guides you through the numbers you need to know to make sense of the headlines. Compiled by BS Research Bureau

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