Sunday, April 1, 2012

Increase in dropout rate in primary education worries Kapil Sibal

Increase in dropout rate in primary education worries Kapil Sibal
TNN | Apr 1, 2012, 05.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: Nearly one third of the states and union territories have seen an increase in the dropout rate in primary education despite an overall increase in enrolment two years after the Right to Education (RTE) was implemented. This comes at a time when fund allocation has been doubled.

More children have dropped out in 2010-2011 as compared to 2009-2010 in 10 of the 30 states where RTE has been notified. These include progressive states like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat that have seen an increase in drop out ratio from 0.1% to 1.2% and 3.9% to 4.3% respectively between 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Others that have also slipped from their earlier mark include Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and union territories like A&N Islands, Daman & Diu.

Incidentally, fund allocation under RTE has doubled from Rs 13,100 crore in 2009-2010 to Rs 25,555 crore in 2012-2013. the annual average drop out rate for the country has come down from 9.1% to 6.8% while enrolment has increased 13.34 crore to 13.52 crore for the same period.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal said that improving quality was critical if the objective of RTE was to be fulfilled and elaborated on a 10-point agenda that states should follow. He noted a decline in dropout rates in states like Bihar where it has come down to about 7%. Jharkhand saw a drop of 5%, Nagaland to about 6% and in Uttar Pradesh, it has come down to about 5.5%.

"We have issued advisory to the state education ministers to initiate curriculum reforms as it is a matter of concern that not much attention is being paid to improve quality," the minister said.

He said more than 31 states have notified academic authority as per RTE provisions which would look into the curriculum reforms process.

Sibal also said the states should take steps to hasten the process of teachers appointment as the Centre has already sanctioned six lakh posts. He said as against mandated teacher student ratio of 30:1, 43 per cent primary schools have over 40 children per one teacher.

With 4.96 lakh classrooms having been sanctioned under Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan -- which is being aligned with RTE, Sibal asked the state to put "all RTE provisions into practice in schools including prohibition of corporal punishment, detention and expulsion".

Listing out steps which the states should ensure for efficient implementation of RTE, the HRD Minister said textbooks and uniforms should be provided at the beginning of the academic year along with school related grants like teacher grant, maintenance grants. He also stressed on implementation and monitoring of admission of children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, while demanding that a grievance redressal mechanism should be put in place in each school.

The minister said review of teacher training modules should also be ensured by the states so that they conform to the revised syllabi. While he observed the outcome of RTE would be felt in about three years from now, the minister said it is already showing some positive results as student accessibility to schools has increased and there is reduction in drop out rates.

He hoped the remaining two states of Goa and Karnataka will notify the RTE rules soon, pending which they would also start receiving the central grants.

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