Half of the students in 20 percent government schools of Himachal Pradesh failed their class X exams and 14 percent the class XII exams in 2014-15, an audit report has revealed.
The result of class X was poor as during 2011-15, two to 16 of the 2,230 government schools in the state had zero results while 134 to 232 schools had results of less than 25 percent, says a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
Similarly, for class XII, 10 of the 1,375 schools had zero result and 48 schools had less than 25 percent results in 2014-15.
The report said 463 class X schools had pass percentages ranging from 26 to 50, as did 204 class XII schools during this period.
The government auditor, which submitted its report in the assembly last week, picked holes in the implementation of the central-funded Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) that was launched in 2009.
Of the Rs.348.47 crore available under RMSA during 2014-15, the state education department could spend only Rs. 218.67 crore on various components of the programme, leaving Rs.129.80 crore (37 per cent) unutilised, the report said.
It also pointed to the chronic shortage of teachers in schools.
In 2014-15, there were 2,230 high schools and 1,375 senior secondary schools in Himachal Pradesh. Their shortage of teaching staff was 14 and 39 percent respectively as of March 2015.
The state government had framed a policy in January 2010 to evaluate the results of schools and to identify the reasons for poor results, including the staff responsible,
The teachers in schools with results less than 25 percent were to be penalised through adverse entries in their annual confidential reports and withholding of future increments.
Surprisingly, said the CAG, no action was taken by the department against the teachers in schools with less than 25 percent results.
During the assembly’s just-concluded budget session, leader of opposition and two-time chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal expressed concern over sharp deterioration in the quality of education and the high dropout rate.
He said government schools were losing out to the private ones owing to shortage of staff.
The CAG said the enrolment of children from class IX to XII (14 to 18 years) was not commensurate with their population.
As per 2011 census, there were 515,132 children in this age group. Their enrolment increased from 447,221 in 2010-11 to 510,495 in 2012-13 but decreased to 484,360 in 2014-15.
This showed that the state government’s efforts to attain universalisation of secondary education through its schools had not produced the desired results as envisaged in the RMSA guidelines.
It also observed that the overall gross dropout rate for boys and girls during 2010-15 ranged between 1.66 and 9.11.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is known for his reforms in education, said filling vacant posts of teacher is one of his top priorities.
“My government has started filings posts in the education department in 2013-14 and it still continues. More than 5,000 teaching posts will be filled in this fiscal,” he told IANS.
The chief minister in March revived the British system of carrying out inspections of educational institutions by constituting an inspectorate of education to improve standards.
This will ensure that all schools teach mathematics, English and Hindi from class I.
In the budget for this fiscal, the chief minister launched a scheme that will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and teaching facilities in two senior secondary schools in each assembly constituency.
A seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, Vishal writes on a wide range of subjects which include biodiversity, climate change and links between environment & development. He also covers politics and other developments in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He lives in Chandigarh & Shimla.