Uttar Pradesh registers increase in number of out-of-school children
ASER carried out a survey in rural districts across India. The key findings:
- Enrolment increased for all age groups between 2014 and 2016 but there was no increase in private school enrolment.
- In government schools reading ability has increased especially at primary level.
- The standard of government schools has improved at the primary level but the ability to read English has remained unchanged.
- The attendance of school children shows no major change since 2014.
- The report was released after a break of one year.
- Uttar Pradesh has the highest percentage of out of school children in the 6 to 14 age group. The reason for worry is that there is an increase in percentage since 2014.
- Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh also saw an increase in the percentage of out of school children.
- U.P. also has low school attendance rates, at 50-60 %, along with Bihar, Manipur, West Bengal and M.P.
Areas of concern:
- Though there are improvements at quantitative level, which is reflected in terms of an increase in gross enrollment ratio. But retention of students is still a challenge specially for the girl students.
- But concerns exist at qualitative level in terms of learning outcomes. This gets reflected in terms of poor reading and arithmetic abilities specially at primary level. Only half of students in standard five can solve an arithmetic problem that is expected from a student of standard two.
- There is no marked change in the ability to read English at primary level.
- Most rural schools still do not have computers.
- In a typical Indian school focus in on completing the curriculum.
- The policies that we formulate should be all encompassing and should attempt to make our education system as inclusive as possible. Thus, it should be aimed at eliminating differences that exist at gender, caste etc
- The pedagogy needs to be structured to cater to the needs of children in possession of varying skills, who are lagging. Learning support should be provided to children that are lagging by making relevant changes in the curriculum.
- Children can be organized in groups based on their ability irrespective of age and class.
- Pre-school education also needs to be emphasized. This will help reduce the burden imposed on the girl child to take care of siblings.
- Adequate infrastructure that includes, playgrounds, separate toilets for girls etc.
- Schemes like distributing bicycles should be widened. As this helps reduce drop outs specially of girl students.