Only 1 girl out of Primary School's 100 reaches grade 12, a reflection

Few Facts which are Worth knowing

India is a complex country with it’s own set of education problems however, before we talk about them it’s important we understand few facts about our current education system. According to Indian Education Report by National Centre on Education and the Economy, 96.7 % of our students are enrolled in schools and out of these 71% of our students do attend school on any given day.

Moreover, the enrolment in private schools is also increasing over the period of years i.e. it was 30.8 % in 2014 in comparison to 18.7% in 2006. Of all the students enrolled in class V, half cannot read the 2nd std text. ASER Report (2014)

Males in India complete just 2.9 years of schooling and female around 1.8 years of schooling.

Two Conundrums which we need to discuss

  1. Why is there such a huge dropout of students who enter the education system in comparison to who passes the 12th std.
  2. Where is the government focusing its energy when it comes to education and is this right approach?

Primary, Middle and Tertiary Education

The Indian Constitution made a commitment to make primary and middle grade education (from age 6-14 years) free and universal by 1960, with two national policy statement on education in 1968 and 1986 (and revised in 1992) placing much emphasis on this goal. But this goal has remained unattainable after 68 years after Independence.

Also, we do know that out of 100 students who enrol at 1st standard, 65 reach the 5th standard and finally only 23 pass out of 12th standard while there have been huge hue and cry about the same though I believe there are few issues which we have been ignoring all along the way.

While, there has been a considerable increase in the number of schools since independence. For instance, during the period 1950-51 and 2001-2002, the number of primary schools grew by three fold, while the number of Middle schools increased 16 times. Today India has more than six hundred thousand primary schools serving 115 million students (the average teacher to student ratio is 1:43) and more than two million upper primary schools serving 45 million students (The average student: teacher ratio being 1:38)

Total Student Enrollment by Educational Stage and Percent Enrolled in Private Schools (2001)

Though on the other side, two out of every 5 first-grade students will not complete the primary cycle of 4 to 5 years of schooling and the learning level of those graduating is low. Children from poorer families are at a great disadvantage. The drop out rate in the poor families is 4 times that in comparison to the richest ones. (The World Bank Report)

Out of School Population

One out of every three out-of-school children in the world resides in India. Fifty three percent of students drop out before completing primary school. The issue today is not a lack of demand, but rather quality of supply. Students often drop out because their public school experiences are often so poor that they learn very little even after being enrolled for 4 to 5 years.

Educating girls is a particular challenge. It is estimated for every 100 girls that enroll in school in rural India, 40 will reach grade four,18 will reach grade eight, nine will reach grade 9, and only one will reach grade 12th.

The PROBE study did find, however that 98 percent of parents surveyed felt that education was necessary for boys and 89 parents felt that it’s necessary for girls.

(Kapur, Devesh and Pratap Bhanu Mehta. “Indian Higher Education Reform: From Half-Baked Socialism to Half-Baked Capitalism.)

Although UNESCO data indicates that nearly half of the children enrolled in secondary school in 1999-2000 (up from 30 percent in 1980) studies seem to indicate only 20 percent of the students actually attend secondary school.

source unknown (please help)

The problem of Supply

According to a person who has been in this field I see this problem from a different angle i.e. It’s not the problem of the students but the problem of infrastructure.

What I mean by this is – That while all the parents want to teach there students and all the kids also wants to learn but still we get such a ratio. Why?

What I realized over the years is

The Problem of Infrastructure

So, what I want to suggest through this article is that it’s high time now and the government should now realize that focusing just on primary education is not going to solve the problem. It’s like teaching a student just to make dough but not the cake – so while he knows the end product but he is never able to get to his end result. Our past history shows we had created a pool of passed out graduates who are qualified but not employable.

If you look at this situation, it creates it’s own problem. Today's youth is at the crossroads. Neither their forefathers' professions are keeping them afloat, nor their own degrees are providing the jobs they are longing for.

Hopefully, a more thoughtful education policy this 26th May would help all the stakeholders take one more shot at the anomalies which are refusing to leave the system.

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