Thiruvananthapuram: The strength of students
in government schools in Kerala has declined this academic
year, a trend linked to the demographic transition of the
state seen as a role model for population control.
Statistics of the first head-count of the academic year
held last week showed that the number of students in state-run
and government aided schools fell by 1.21 lakh this year.
While these categories of schools had a total of 43.51
lakh students last year, the latest count put it at 42.3 lakh,
officials in the General Education Department said.
The head count is held on the sixth working day of the
academic year annually. The exercise would be repeated after a
month to confirm the results. The aided schools showed greater
fall of nearly 95,000 in number of children than the those
run directly by the government.
Confirming the perception that change in demographic
profile as the main factor for the decline of children in
schools, the enrolment in the first standard dipped to 3.22
lakh from 3.37 lakh last year.
According to official figures, based on 2001 census, the
proportion of children (0-14 age) to the total population of
Kerala stood at 26.1 per cent, which was lower compared to
most other states.
According to demographers, this trend might have
sharpened in the last one decade. In contrast, Kerala is one
of the fast ageing Indian state where the number of those
above 60 years of age has been steadily increasing.
Mushrooming of private English medium educational schools
and increasing preference of parents to send their children to
such institutions are also seen to have contributed to decline
of student strength in state sector schools.
Continuing fall of children in state sector schools are
feared to render a number of teaching jobs in the long run,
though for time being any large-scale retrenchment is out of
question in highly unionized school education sector in the
As per the Economic Review of state Planning Board, Kerala
has a total of 12,642 schools, of which 4501 are directly run
by the government and 7278 are aided, which are run by
managements but the pay of staff is provided by the