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Model Gujarat's 24% girls in age-group 15-16 don't attend school, higher than 17 states; national average 16%: ASER

By Rajiv Shah
The 11th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2016), released in Delhi, has revealed that Gujarat, a model state for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, remains one of the poorest performers in enrolling girls in rural schools, both at upper primary and secondary level.
Exploding the myth that Gujarat has made strides in school education under Modi, who ruled the state between 2001 and 2014, the report has found that out of 21 major states, just three (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) have a higher out of school girls in the age group 15-16 than Gujarat.
At 23.5%, Gujarat’s out of school girls in this age group is higher than several of the backward states such as Odisha (19.2%), Chhattisgarh (18.4%), Jharkhand (14.3%), Assam (12%) and Bihar (11.3%). The national average, the report, which is based on rural household surveys across India, is 16.1%.
ASER oes not find things any better for rural boys’ enrollment in the age group 15-16. Here, too, of 21 major states, just three (Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh) have a higher percent of out of school children than Gujarat (18.7%). The national average on this score is 14.6%.
What is equally distressing is that, in the age group 11-14, or in upper primary, Gujarat is found to have higher percent of out of school girls, 4.9%, than all major states except four – Jharkhand 5.7%, Madhya Pradesh 8.5%, Rajasthan 9.7%, and Uttar Pradesh 9.9%. Better performing states include Bihar 4.4%, Assam 4.1%, and Chhattisgarh 3.7%,
The ASER survey was carried out in 17,473 villages of nearly all rural district of India, covering 3,50,232 households and 5,62,305 children in the age group 3-16. At the all India level, the report finds, the enrollment increased a little for all age groups between 2014 and 2016, from 96.7% in 2014 to 96.9% in 2016.
Comparing government and private schools, the report finds that at the all India level, the proportion of children (age 6-14) enrolled in primary schools remained almost unchanged at 30.5% in 2016, as compared to 30.8% in 2014.
“The gender gap in private school enrollment has decreased slightly in both the 7-10 and the 11-14 age group”, the report says, adding, “In 2014, among children age 11-14, the gap between boys' and girls' enrollment in private school was 7.6 percentage points. In 2016, this gap had decreased to 6.9 percentage points.”
As for government schools, the report says, two states show significant increases in government school enrollment relative to 2014 levels. In Kerala, the proportion of children (age 11-14) enrolled in government school increased from 40.6% in 2014 to 49.9% in 2016. In Gujarat, this proportion increased from 79.2% in 2014 to 86% in 2016.
At the same time, the report says, two major states show substantial increases since 2014 in private school enrollment among children in the elementary school age group (age 6-14) -- Uttarakhand (from 37.5% to 41.6%) and Assam (from 17.3% to 22%).
Giving a detailed analysis of reading ability of children, the report states, “Nationally, the proportion of children in Std III who are able to read at least Std I level text has gone up slightly, from 40.2% in 2014 to 42.5% in 2016.”
“This proportion shows substantial increases among children in government schools in many states: Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana. All these states show an improvement of more than 7 percentage points since 2014”, it adds.
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Download full report HERE

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