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Gujarat model? 73.4% girls in age group 15-17 attend school, worst than all but one major Indian states

Worst performers: % girls, age 15-17, attending schools
By Our Representative
Latest Sample Registration System (SRS) data, released by the Census of India this June, are likely to create flutter regarding the "claims" that Gujarat could well be the role model for the rest of India for its efforts to "improve" school enrollment, especially of girls. They are enough for policy makers to sit up and think about what has gone wrong while projecting Gujarat as a model.
With just 73.4 per cent of girls in the age group 15-17 attending school in Gujarat, the state ranks worst compared to all 21 major states, selected by SRS for comparison, with the sole exception of Rajasthan (72.1 per cent).
SRS data are based on the data collected in 2014, when Narendra Modi quit Gujarat as chief ministership to become Prime Minister after his 13 years' rule, characterized variously as an "example" of good governance.
The data reveal that the all-India average for girls attending schools is higher by more than 10 per cent than that of Gujarat -- 83.8 per cent.
The data come after more than a decade-long drive to improve girl child enrollment in schools in Gujarat through what is called the annual Kenya Kelavni programme, in which all ministers, government officials – IAS, IPS officials and other class one babus – seek to “ensure” cent per cent enrollment in schools.
The state which ranks the best in this regard is, like earlier, Kerala, with 97 per cent girls in the age group 15-17 attending schools, followed by 95.9 per cent  in Maharashtra, 94.3 per cent each in Tamil Nadu and Telangana, 93.7 per cent in Jammu & Kashmir, and 91.1 per cent in Punjab.
Best performers: % girls, age 15-17, attending schools
Even the so-called backward states are found to have performed much better than Gujarat, with Bihar's 83.3 per cent girls in the age group 15-17 attending school.
Other so-called BIMARU states performing better are: Assam 84.8 per cent, Jharkhand 84.1 per cent, Chhattisgarh 90.1 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 79.2, Assam 84.8 per cent, Uttar Pradesh 79.4 and Odisha 75.3 per cent.
Even in the age group 10-14, except for two states -- Bihar (90.8 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (90.0 per cent) -- Gujarat is the worst performer, with 91.7 per cent of girls attending school. This is against the all-India average of 93.4 per cent. Here, again, Kerala is the best performer, with 99.5 per cent girls attending school, followed by Punjab 96.8 per cent and Kerala 96.2 per cent.
As for boys, Gujarat's performance is a little better, though worse than majority of Indian states. Thus, in the age group 15-17, out of the 21 major states, all other states with the exception for four (Odisha 77.7 per cent, Rajasthan 78.7 per cent, Uttar Pradesh 79.2 per cent and West Bengal 79.1 per cent) have higher proportion of boys going to school than Gujarat (91.7 per cent).
Even the United Nations considers SRS' "annual estimates" as "fairly reliable estimates" in the "intercensal periods." The UN says, "SRS estimates are generally valid and reliable for the country as a whole and for bigger states with more than 10 million population."
Based on samples collected across India between censuses, SRS data are part of the Census of India framework, which in turn is part of the Union home ministry.

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