Enrolment in them has risen by about 10 per cent in just six years, said an official report today.
Releasing the report, HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju said he does not hold any "grudge" about the trend as some of the shortcomings in government schools are pushing children to private schools, though he noted that government schools would certainly try to match them.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASAR) said private schools' enrolment has risen year after year for the 6-14 age group--from 18.7 per cent in 2006 to 28.3 per cent in 2012.
During the last three years, it said the rate of growth of private schools has been nearly 10 per cent. "If this trend continues, by 2018 India may have 50 per cent children attending private schools even in rural areas," it said.
In fact, more than 40 per cent of the children in J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Meghalaya were enrolled in private schools, it said. In Kerala and Manipur, this percentage was more than 60 per cent.
The ASAR report, which based its findings covering about six lakh children in 567 districts, said 45 per cent of all children in elementary grades between standard I and VIII also went to private tutors.
"...they have better learning outcomes than who do not," it added.
Overall, it said the enrolment levels for the 6-14 age group in rural India continued to be "very high" in rural India at 96 per cent and more.