Government school dropouts in classes 9, 10 increasing in many states

NEW DELHI: In what could be a major worry for policymakers in the field of education, the number of children who drop out of government schools in class IX and X is increasing significantly in most states of India.

The latest data from the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE), a database of information about schools, says that the situation is particularly grim in states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, West Bengal, and some north-eastern states, as per 2016-17 statistics.

In these states, the percentage of students dropping out of school in secondary classes was considerably higher than the previous years. For example, in Bihar, in 2016-17, 39.73 per cent students in secondary classes withdrew from school, as compared to just 25.90 per cent students in 2015-16.

In Jharkhand, 36.64 per cent students dropped out in 2016-17, the last year for which data is available, which is over 12 per cent more than the previous year. The Union Human Resources Development Ministry has been boasting about making significant changes in the school education sector.

It’s own figures, however, suggest that while the gross enrolment ratio was over 100 per cent at the primary level in 2016-17 (GER can be more than 100 per cent at the primary level because of overage and underage children taking admissions), it Is less than 80 per cent at the secondary level and is yet to reach 60 per cent at the senior secondary level.

Education experts said that while lack of access in rural areas and lack of interest in learning are major factors why children in higher classes drop out of schools, the no-detention policy till class VIII, which was introduced as part of the Right to Education act, could also be a reason.

“The government has now moved to end the no-detention policy, but in the past many year, it has been seen that children who were not assessed properly till class VIII, lose interest in studies when they don’t do well at higher level examinations,” said educationist Varsha Narain.

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