It has more illiterate people – by proportion – than any Indian state and although literacy rose 14.8 percentage points over a decade to 2011, there is a crisis in Bihar’s primary education system: Its classrooms are India’s most crowded and have the fewest teachers.
Yet, India’s sixth-poorest state spends the least money per student, according to an analysis of government data.
The GER in higher education in Bihar is just about 8% against the national average of about 20% and even below Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
The GER is the ratio of students between 18 and 23 years of age enrolled in higher education institutions against the entire population in that age group.
Bihar’s median age, at 20, is India’s lowest – the Indian average is 26.6.
Reading levels in Bihar government primary schools declined over five years and improved in private schools, according to the Annual Status of Education Report–Trends Over Time Report (2006-14); not an encouraging sign, since 90% of all Bihar schools are run by the government.
As per National Knowledge Commission’s recommendations, there should have been 50 universities in the state keeping in view its population.
The recent government move to convert 50 selected colleges into centres of excellence is also moving at a snail's pace.
Bihar has a teacher pupil ratio of 24 in upper primary, higher than the all-India ratio of 17, but lower than the prescribed guideline of 35.
While teacher absenteeism has declined in the state from 39% in 2003 to 28% in 2010, as this 2014 study reported, it is still higher than the all India average of 24%.