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Will education outlay improve amidst widening learning gap? Sector hopes so

Ahead of International Education Day on Jan 24, a case for more funding, reducing digital divide in education

Illustration image

Illustration: Ajay Mohanty

The recently released Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2022 – the first full-fledged report since the pandemic struck – saw a substantial rise in school enrolment for the first time in 16 years. But it also showed the widening learning gap for foundational skills in reading and arithmetic, undoing several years of improvement.

The growing learning gap can also be attributed to schools remaining closed across the country during the pandemic. India was among the few countries where schools remained closed the longest. For several small private schools, the restrictions became unsustainable and many shut down for good. Meanwhile, enrolment in government schools rose (from 65.6 per cent in 2018 to 72.9 per cent in 2022).

Experts continue to call for increasing the education outlay in the Union Budget to make up for the losses.

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