India’s Development Challenge
Enrolment in primary schools plunges 2.6 million in 2 years
1. It is a lesson in misplaced enthusiasm. While the Centre has been busy tom-tomming its efforts to send more children to school, enrolment in primary classes across the country has, in actuality, dropped since 2007. Between 2008-09 and 2009-10, enrolment in classes I to IV in Indian schools dropped by over 2.6 million.
The biggest setback was witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, where admissions plummeted by over a million in the last two years, according to the latest data released by the ministry of human resource development.
Thousands of students, including girls, from hundreds of villages in the district have to cover a distance of over five kilometres to reach their primary and secondary schools.
2. As per the records of education department, the girls of 381 villages have to cover a distance of more than five kilometres to get education of upper primary level while the girls of 963 villages cover this distance to get secondary-level education.
Schools still remain distant for girls
The records state that 1,062 villages have primary schools while the kids of 109 villages have to cover a distance of 1-3 km to reach their primary schools.
The girls of 320 villages and boys of 198 villages travel 3-5 km to reach upper primary schools.
'Only 12 of 100 kids in civic schools reach Std X'
The Centre may have implemented the Right to Education Act, aiming for a 100% literacy rate in the country, but the ground reality in the state is rather disheartening.
According to a survey conducted by a non-government organization, of every 100 students admitted to a municipality school, only 12 reach Std X. Clubbed with the high dropout rates, the educational course in civic schools is also highlighted with the abysmally low pass percentage.
"Every year, the Bombay Municipal Corporation spends around Rs 40,000 on each student. Still, 15 of the 24 wards in the city showed an alarming rise in the number of students who have dropped out of school this year," said Nitai Mehta, founder and trustee of Praja Foundation that conducted the survey over the past three years. "What about the development of these children?"
"One of the major problems lies in the fact that most BMC schools are only till Std VII. Almost 1,242 such schools exist in Mumbai as compared to 42 schools which have classes till X. As a result, most of the children do not study beyond that level," his is another reason why students drop out of schools after class VII," said panelist Farida Lambay, founder of NGO Pratham.
Rural kids voice their disappointment over lack of schools in their vicinity
CHENNAI: B Nagaraj (12) and P Munniaraj (11) saw trains for the first time on Sunday. As the first members of their families to journey beyond their home in Gulati village deep in the reserve forest at Denkanikottai in Krishnagiri district, both boys are here on a mission: to talk about how the lack of infrastructure in their village makes it impossible for them to attend school.
Twelve-year-olds N Nagavijay and M Pandian from Thovakudu village in Ramanathapuram and Mandavaikuppam village in Villupuram respectively travel a distance of six km and eight km each to reach school everyday. While Nagavijay dropped out last year because of the distance, activists convinced him to go back this year. "It is unbearably hot during the summer and inconvenient for us to walk six km during the rain with our bags on our backs. I go to school because my parents say I need to work hard and study, become successful and serve my land when I grow up," he said.
Until class V, P Chitra (15), from Kadamanravu village in Kodaikanal district, attended a state-run residential Adi Dravidar school which operated out of a group house where teachers would come in for an hour. "I dropped out for a year and was admitted to class VI at a higher secondary school 35 km away from my village. While children my age were in classes VIII and IX by then, I was stuck in a lower class. I could not cope with the lessons. Also, the food served in the afternoon would have worms in it, so I dropped out," she said.
Only 57 per cent children going to school: RTE Act report
The euphoria over the spurt in India's literacy figures has all but overshadowed the poor progress of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in its first year.The landmark law, mandating free and compulsory education for all children, was enforced from April 1 last year.
But a reality check shows that even as the gross enrolment ratio is an astounding 98 per cent at the primary school level, actual attendance of students in schools is far lower.Another area of concern is the large number of "out of school" children. Government data shows that at present, over 81.5 lakh children don't go to school and are a difficult segment to reach out to.
Educationist Vinod Raina, who was involved in the drafting of the RTE Act, said: "While the gross enrolment ratio stands at 98 per cent, attendance in schools is only about 57 per cent. A lot needs to be done if children are to be actually put into school.
"Kapil Sibal focuses on bringing GER to 30%
Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education which is presently hovering at a mere 13%, a whole 10% below the world average.