More girls dropped out in 2013 says ASER 2013 Report

Pune, Jan 17, 2014:  The emphasis on school infrastructure as per the Right to Education Act notwithstanding, the dropout rate among girls in the 7-16 age group shot up last year, when over 14% girls went missing from schools in rural parts of Maharashtra. Findings of a national survey indicate that poor facilities in government schools, particularly lack of toilets, continue to push girls out of mainstream education.

The report, Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), which Pratham Foundation, an NGO, brings out every year, was released by deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The report's findings for Maharashtra and also Pune are telling. In 2012, the dropout rate among girls in the 7-16 age group in rural parts was 11.7%. In fact, a closer analysis reveals how the state was able to check the dropout rate in this age group between 2006 and 2011, but it started increasing after that (see box).

Thirty three districts in the state were surveyed for the report, which also covered schools in 30 villages in Pune district. Nearby blocks such as Baramati, Shirur, Indapur, Daund were also covered.

Gyaneshwar Kamble, president, Pratham Shiksha Mandal, Pune, said the findings of the survey would help the government formulate policies to address the problem.

The national report shows an increase in the overall enrollment rate, more small schools coming up and increase in the number of students taking tuitions.

Another trend the survey has recorded is girls opting for private institutions when they reach high school. The survey has found as many as 81.6% girl students in the 7-10 age group enrolled in government schools, but in the 15-16 age group their percentage dropped to 11.8%, with 78% girls enrolled in private schools. Experts attributed the preference to better facilities in private institutions.

"The survey depicts the disparity between government and private schools when it comes to enrolment. Government schools have a majority of students in rural areas in primary classes, but fail to attract students in high school. This could be attributed to the facilities government schools fail to provide," said Pune-based advocate Ravi Bhardwaj, an education expert.
The report also highlights the status of infrastructure and other facilities in schools, and points out how schools still do not have toilets and if they do have them, in many cases they are not functional.

ASER is the largest annual household survey of children in rural India that focuses on the status of schooling and basic learning. The survey is conducted by Pratham with the help of local organizations and institutions. This year, the survey covered 550 districts and close to 16,000 villages across the country. (Source: Manish Kumar, TNN)

17-01-2014 | Posted by Admin