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India’s gross enrollment rate is rising, more girls and children with special needs are now attending school: government data

The gross enrollment rate in India has increased. This means that more children are now going to school. According to Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+), more than 19.36 lakh more children are enrolled in schools in 2021-22 as compared to 2020-21.

In 2021-22, the total number of students enrolled in primary to upper secondary school education stood at 25.57 crore as compared to 25.38 crore enrollment in 2020-21, an increase of 19.36 lakh enrollments, according to government data.

The increase corresponds to an increase in the number of children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities attending school. There is an increase in the number of girls and children with special needs going to school.

In particular, upper secondary GER improved significantly from 53.8 percent in 2021-21 to 57.6 percent in 2021-22.

More children with special needs in schools

The total enrollment of children with special needs (CWSN) in 2021-22 stands at 22.67 lakh as compared to 21.91 lakh in 2020-21, showing a 3.45% improvement from 2020-21, according to government data.

The total number of registered castes increased to 4.82 Crore in 2021-22 compared to 4.78 Crore in 2020-21. Similarly, the planned tribe’s total enrollment increased to 2.51 crore in 2021-22 from 2.49 crore in 2020-21. The total number of other students left behind also rose to 11.48 crore in 2021-22 from 11.35 crore in 2020-21.

Rise of girls in schools

In 2021-22, more than 12.29 crore girls are enrolled from primary to upper secondary, with an increase of 8.19 lakh compared to the enrollment of girls in 2020-21. The GER Gender Parity Index (GPI) shows that the representation of women in school education corresponds to the representation of girls in the population of the corresponding age group. The GPI value at all levels of school education is one or more, implying that more girls participate in school education.

In 2021-22, the total number of Scheduled Caste (SC) students from primary to upper secondary has increased from 4.78 crore in 2020-21 to 4.83 crore. Similarly, the total students of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) have increased from 2.49 crore to 2.51 crore, and students of Other Backward Caste (OBC) from 11.35 crore to 11.49 crore in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The total number of schools in 2021-22 was 14.89 lakhs as compared to 15.09 lakhs in 2020-21. The decrease in the total number of schools is mainly due to the closure of private and other management schools and the grouping/clustering of schools by different states.

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