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Upper primary: India govt report finds Gujarat has very high girl child school dropout, low enrollment

Irani in Kudasan studying Gujarat model
By Rajiv Shah
Just a week after Union human resources minister Smriti Irani came to Gujarat to “study” and “replicate” the Gujarat model of education, a high-level report, prepared by the Union ministry of human resources, operating directly under her, has come up with a big shocker: The report has found that girls’ dropout ratio in Gujarat at the upper primary level (classes 6 to 8) to be one of the highest in India, suggesting that Gujarat government’s kanya kelavni drive for ensuring girl child participation in education has failed to succeed.
Titled “Elementary Education in India: Progress towards Universal Elementary Education”, the report has found that the average dropout rate of girls at the upper primary level in Gujarat is 8.19 per cent, which higher than all major states except Madhya Pradesh (10.27 per cent). The all-India average dropout rate for girls at the higher primary level is 4.01 per cent, half that of Gujarat. Interestingly, for the boys, too, the dropout at the upper primary level is quite high – 2.75 per cent, which is slightly less than the all-India average of 2.30 per cent.
Significantly, even states with poor social indicators have performed better than Gujarat. Thus, the girl dropout rate for Assam is 6.55 per cent, of Chhattisgarh 4.73 per cent, of Jharkhand 5.94 per cent, of Odisha 3.52 per cent, of Rajasthan 6.34 per cent, and of Uttar Pradesh 3.10 per cent. No figures have been provided for states known to best and worst performers – Kerala and Bihar. In neighbouring Maharashtra, the girls’ dropout at upper primary is 2.72 per cent, in Tamil Nadu it is 3.11 per cent, Andhra Pradesh 3.51 per cent, and Karnataka 5.15 per cent.
Things are no better for net enrollment rate of children at lower primary and upper primary level – it is 82.92 per cent and 68.39 per cent respectively – which is once again lower than most Indian states. The all-India average here is 88.05 per cent and 70.20 per cent, respectively, suggesting that Gujarat is unable to enroll as many primary school going children as it claims. Released this month, the report comes just a few days after Gujarat government launched its three-day kanya kelavni drive, in which government officials are supposed to go to schools to ensure cent per cent enrollment.
Inter-state comparison for primary level net enrollment suggests even Bihar is a better performer than Gujarat with 91.66 per cent. Other poorer states which have performed better than Gujarat are Chhattisgarh (93.79 per cent), Jharkhand (96.49 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (93.66 per cent), Odisha (89.05 per cent), and Uttar Pradesh (87.03 per cent). The situation is similar with the upper primary, where Bihar (79.06 per cent), Assam (76.49 per cent), Chhattisgarh (76.80 per cent), Jharkhand (68.53 per cent), are better performers than Gujarat.
Irani was in Gujarat on June 13, when she met Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel and discussed various education programmes, especially those focusing on girls, launched by the state government, in order to “replicate” these at the national level. During her visit, she inaugurated a Smart School in Kudasan village in Gandhinagar district, and took part in the kenya kelavni drive, which is part of shala praveshotsav (school enrollment festival), the annual event organized by the state government.

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