Mumbai: On February 16, 2020, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda claimed that Maharashtra’s education ranking improved from 17 five years ago to three under the chief ministership of Devendra Fadnavis. Maharashtra’s ranking has improved but not as per Nadda’s claims. The state ranked 13 out of 35 states and union territories in 2013-14, third out of 20 states in 2015-16 and sixth in 2016-17, according to an analysis of the government’s education rankings.

Further, the 2014-15 ranking cannot be compared to the 2016-17 ranking as the methodology of computing these rankings has completely changed, a National Institute for Transforming India’s (NITI) Aayog official told

Our factcheck:

Fadnavis was Maharashtra chief minister from November 2014 to November 2019.

Claim: “On education, Maharashtra was on the 17th rank in the country five years ago. Today, the state stands at 3rd after Fadnavis Ji's regime,” Nadda said, at a BJP rally in Navi Mumbai on February 16, 2020.

This claim is false.

Maharashtra ranked 13 out of 35 states and union territories in 2013-14, according to the Education Development Index (EDI) of the District Information System for Education (DISE), a compilation of school-related data in India. The index, developed in 2005-06, includes indicators on access to school (density of schools etc.), infrastructure (toilets, school building etc.), teachers (pupil-teacher ratio etc.) and students (enrollment, drop-outs etc.).

The EDI was discontinued in 2015, and transitioned to the NITI Aayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI) looking at 30 indicators to assess the delivery of quality education. Maharashtra ranked third on this index of 20 states in 2015-16.

“The index cannot be compared with the EDI as that index compared all 35 states while SEQI has divided states into three groups of large states, small states and union territories. The ranks of each state is against its peers in the same group and not against the whole country,” said Harshit Mishra, a senior research officer of school education with the NITI Aayog.

In addition to the indicators previously included in the EDI, the SEQI also uses the national assessment survey of students, conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training.

Maharashtra performed well on indicators of learning outcomes (average scores etc.) and in transparency and accountability of schools (including indicators on timely release of funds to schools, self evaluation by schools and making of school development plans, teacher and principal recruitment systems) and student and teacher attendance, according to the index.

In the latest SEQI in 2016-17, Maharashtra was ranked six of 20 states, down three ranks from 2015-16.

This drop in rankings was attributed to a lower score on indicators of infrastructure, including having a computer, a library or reading room and vocational courses offered. Maharashtra’s score on this indicator declined by three points when compared to 2015-16.

The state’s score also declined by five points on the indicator of equity, comparing, among other things, performance of children from the scheduled castes and tribes with general category children, performance of rural and urban schools and of boys and girls.

In terms of equity, those from the scheduled tribes often score lower or drop-out because of the language of instruction in schools, which is different from the language spoken at home, making it difficult for the students to keep up with the rest of the class, said Kumar Nilendu, general manager of the western region for Child Rights And You (CRY), a Mumbai-based nonprofit.

For instance, 8.5% of those from the scheduled tribes dropped out of primary school compared to 4.7% from the general category in 2016-17, data from DISE show.

“The quality of teaching is dependent on the teacher training programme and how well they are trained to teach children,” Nilendu added.

(Salve is a contributor.)

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