Ahead of Himachal Pradesh Assembly Polls 2017, the state government is again rounded up by the opposition over degrading academic standards of government schools and higher education institutes. Insufficient technical and medical institutes are leading to migration of youth to other states in search of better institutes. This makes the need for improvements in the academic standards a major agenda ahead of the upcoming assembly polls.

In the year 2014-15, 50 percent students of 20 percent government schools had failed in their matriculation examination. Out of 1,375 schools, 10 schools yielded zero percent result in Class 12 examination while 48 schools reported less than 25 percent passing rate.

In the same year, there were 2,230 high schools and 1,375 middle schools. By March 2015, the staff insufficiency was 14 and 39 percent respectively.

Out of total 10766 primary schools, 200 were running without any teacher while 923 schools had only one teacher. About 100 schools had not more than two students.

The enrolment ratio fell to 55 percent in 2015-16 from 89 percent in 2003-2004. The private school witnessed a rise of 45 percent in enrolments. Apparently, parents are not satisfied with the academic standards of the government schools and enrolling in private ones despite their hefty fees, which is putting huge financial burden on parents.

Under Right to Education Act, the government was supposed to provide infrastructural facilities to all schools by 2012. Similarly, the government was supposed to meet the standards of quality education by 2015.

However, still, the government has not recruited sufficient teachers and schools are struggling to fulfill infrastructural requirements, he further quoted.

In the field of higher education, several institutes are shutting down due to policies of the state government.

Unrecognized institutes are mushrooming in the state due to lack of sufficient technical, medical, and engineering institutes. The unrecognized institutes are fraudulent and are opening cheating with students.

The state government shares the responsibility for it in one way or other.

The government taps its own back over the announcements of opening/upgrading hundreds of new schools during it current tenure.

The Chief Minister boasting of opening more schools in vicinity to populated regions, especially in rural Himachal, will facilitate enrollment of more children and easy access to education at their doorsteps. Considering the safety of girls, they will be most facilitated as they won’t have to risk traveling several kilometers on feet.

However, in matters of quality, there is no doubt that the state government is struggling badly.