North leads in schools dropouts at primary level, south at secondary
Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Every year, millions of children drop out of schools and join the army of unskilled labour force, adding more strain than gain to the economy, said a report in the latest journal of National Statistical Office (NSO), Sarvekshana.
The northern region of India leads in dropouts at primary and upper primary levels while south India tops at secondary level. Highlighting the learning crisis in the country, the report pointed out that on an average, almost two-thirds of children drop out, which wastes valuable human, physical and financial resources. However, the overall dropout rate improved from 50 per cent in 2011-12 to 40 per cent by 2014.
The dropout rate is the highest at the primary level, followed by the lower secondary and the upper primary levels. The report makes it clear that ‘dropout’ refers to those who left school without completing the number of years needed to obtain that particular level of education.
Analysing the National Sample Survey Office data, the report noted that most of the male students are dropping out, in both rural and urban areas, because of lack of interest in education. “The reported reason ‘not interested in studies’ could lead to different interpretations.
For instance, it can indicate that dropped out children and their parents are not aware of the long term benefits of education. And/or, they may find that it is not worth spending their time in schools, indicating the opportunity cost of their time. It can also indicate that schools are unable to retain the enrolled children in completing their studies.”
The report also talked about poor school education system and said quality of learning affects the labour market outcomes and future productivity of students. It said learning quality is associated with higher returns to education and a higher probability of finishing school. “‘Not interested in studies’ is a very tricky term to interpret… This could refer to a possible poor quality of schooling.”
The report categorised the states into five major regions and noted minimal dropout percentage at primary and upper primary levels in the south and the highest in the northern regions. But the pattern varies on moving up to the secondary levels of education. The dropout at the lower secondary level is the highest in South, East and Northeast and the lowest in the northern region. “Dropout in government schools is significantly higher compared to the non-government schools,” it said.