ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deteriorating Quality of Education in Schools

Are Teachers Responsible?

The role of government school teachers in India is being questioned because of the deteriorating learning levels of children. There is constant criticism of teachers’ performance on the grounds that despite paying high salaries to teachers, children are not performing well in examinations because the majority of teachers are not competent enough. An analysis of six Indian states offers the opportunity to address this debate from the lens of public provisioning for teachers in the school education system. The performance of teachers needs to be judged on the basis of factors like their training, working conditions, and, above all, resource allocation by the government. 


This article is part of a larger study “Analysis of School Education Budget in India” supported by Child Rights and You.

In recent years, the Government of India has become increasingly interested in the relationship between the amount of resources devoted to education and student learning outcomes. Learning outcomes in government schools are compared to those of private schools to measure the quality of education. The most-cited source in this regard is the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER), conducted by a non-governmental organisation called Pratham. It shows that for the last five years, the quality of learning has deteriorated in government schools, while private schools do better both in terms of reading and arithmetic skill (ASER Centre 2017).

This deterioration in learning outcomes has generated a debate about teachers’ salary and efficiency. One argument is that teacher salaries in government schools—which account for over 80% of the spending on education—is drawing a large amount of resources and causing fiscal burden on states (Dongre et al 2014). Some scholars have argued that teachers in private schools are performing better at improving the learning outcomes of children at much lower salaries (Jain and Dholakia 2010; Milligan and Dhume 2012; Pritchett and Aiyer 2014; Muralidharan et al 2016; Ree et al 2016; Kingdon 2017). Hence, there is a push to link teachers’ salaries to student outcomes in order to enforce accountability in the government school system (NITI Aayog 2017).

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Updated On : 17th Jun, 2019
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