Education divide widens across states

PHD chambers analysis reports a 2% drop in cumulative expenditure of states on educational services. The analysis reveals the difference between low spenders and high spenders are four times and significantly the gap is widening rapidly, overtime.

A decline in fund flow in education sector is leading to a deterioration of infrastructure at the primary and secondary level in the states.As a result, Indian households are compelled to spend 1.4% of GDP on private education as compared to 0.7% in OECD countries, leading to education deprivation essentially among the poor.

The cumulative expenditure of states on educational services as a percentage of total expenditure has dropped from 20% in 1995-96 to around 18% in 2007-08, according to an analysis made by PHD Chamber. The other major finding of the PHD Chamber analysis is that the inter-state differences in per capita education spending across states is widening per capita fund flow to education, in 2005-06, varied from Rs.483 in UP and Rs.487 in Bihar to Rs.1034 in Maharashtra and Kerala and Rs.1777 in Himachal Pradesh.

There is inadequacy of government schools, especially in the rural areas and acute shortage of trained and motivated teachers.Ironically there is a moderate to steep fall in education spending even among high growth states with strong pro-reform credentials. For instance, the Southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which have in the past done relatively well in the development of educational facilities for the public, are showing signs of fatigue. Similarly, in Kerala, which has so far recorded the highest literacy level in the country, there is a decline in overall investment in education.

It is appaling to observe that the state governments continue to spend more on non merit subsidies (water, power, administrative expenses) rather than utilizing available funds for asset creation and maintenance of existing facilities in the area of education.

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