Right to education act (RTI) mandates an optimal student teacher ratio of 30:1 for all Indian Schools. If you believe the 2009-10 survey by District Information System on Education (DISE), then the current average student teacher ratio for primary schools in India is 32. Not too bad, you would say. In fact this number of has been improving over the years starting with 47 in 1995 to 40 in 2000 and 34 in 2008. However, the averages hide the reality.
Comparison of student teacher ratio in India and China:
Firstly, let us look at China. China had an average student teacher ratio of 18 in 2008 for its primary school students. The chart below compares evolution of student teacher ratio in India and China over the last 17 years.
Student teacher ratio in India and China - China has a huge lead
Further, if we compare with developed countries France and Sweden, we will find that the student teacher ratio in primary schools is close to 10. This is a direct indicator of their Government's focus on education.
Variation of student teacher ratio within states:
The second fact that is hidden is the vast variation of student teacher ratio across states in India. As expected, Bihar takes the cake with teacher student ratio of 57. Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh too have nothing to be proud of. Their student teacher ratio in primary schools are 45, 44, 39 and 35 respectively.
14 states and union territories, including Gujarat (32), Daman and Diu (31), Maharashtra (30), Delhi (28) and Rajasthan (27) had student teacher ratio between 36 and 26 i.e. close to the average for India.
Smaller states, with the exception of Andhra Pradesh were leading the pack with student teacher ratio of 25 and less. You can find out about the average student teacher ratio in your state from the graph copied below.
Student teacher ratio in Indian states: Vast variation
This gives a good indication of the average for your state and might form a benchmark student teacher ratio when you begin to think about a new school for your kid.