According to the Economic Survey 2023, over 2,000 early childhood development education centres (ECDEs) were closed down last year despite an increase in pupil enrollment in pre-primary one and two across the country.
Of the closed ECDEs, most were public with 1,411 while 777 private pre-primary schools were also shut.
Additionally, 190 private primary schools closed down while 65 more public primary schools were registered.
This led to a 2.7% decline in the total number of pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools from 83,747 in 2021 to 81,454 in 2022.
The decline was mainly due to a decrease in registered pre-primary and private primary schools.
The survey showed a 0.2% increase in the number of secondary schools, including private and public schools.
The Economic Survey noted an increase in the number of pupils enrolled in ECDEs, with a total of 2.867 million children being enrolled in the institutions.
In contrast, secondary school enrollment increased by 5.4% from 3.7 million in 2021 to 3.9 million in 2022. Girls had a higher enrollment rate than boys, with a 5.1% increase in enrollment to reach 2 million students.
Moreover, the decline in the number of teachers in public primary schools is also a cause for concern.
The government should focus on retaining experienced teachers and incentivizing more people to pursue teaching careers to address the shortage of teachers.