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Vibrant Gujarat? State's 15% children enter higher education institutes, national average 18%: Senior academic

By Our Representative
Facts unearthed by well-known academic Prof Rohit Shukla have suggested that in Gujarat's just about 14.72% of children entering school are able to continue their higher education after finishing class 12th. Pointing out that this is against the national average of 18%, Prof Shukla has told media, "Facts also suggest that Gujarat government is bluffing when it says there is just 2% school dropout."
"As of March 2017, 11.8 lakh children appeared in class 10th and 5.3 lakh children in class 12th. In 2006-07, 15.83 lakh children were admitted in class one, which suggests that 26% children dropped out on reaching class 10th, and another 56% children dropped out two years later, at the higher secondary level", Prof Shukla said.
Formerly with the Sardar Patel Institute for Social and Economic Research, Ahmedabad, Prof Shukla, an economist, has been involved with education-related campaigns in Gujarat for several years now. He edits the journal " Abhidrashti", devoted to academics, and is Gujarat president of Save Education, an All-India campaign started in 1987 by late Justice Krishna Ayyar.
Prof Shukla said, "In 2013-14, 92.29 lakh children were studying in primary school, which came down to 91.42 lakh next year, suggesting that there were 87,000 fewer students at the primary level in just one year", adding, "On the other hand, in secondary and higher education level, the number of enrolled students was 27.32 lakh, which suggests that the number students between 8th and 12th standard came down by 64.1 lakh."
Calling it a clear case of neglect of education by state BJP rulers, Prof Shukla said, "This is happening at a time when primary education is being handed over to the private sector. Thus, while in 2013-14, there were 21.97% primary private schools, which reached 23.17% in 2015-16. As percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the budget for education is less than 2%, as against the recommendation of the Kothari Commission in 1967, 6%."
Coming to the quality of education, citing a 2017 government document, Prof Shukla said, "Of the 34,237 government primary schools, just about 858 schools were in the A+ grade and 11,134 in A Grade, while the rest were in C or D Grade", adding, " As many as 44.56% secondary and higher secondary schools don't even have science laboratories, which is one of the worst in India."
Elaborated Dr Hemant Shah, who teaches economics in a Gujarat University college, "The Gujarat government has coined a new term for primary schooling -- multi-layer teaching. It means nothing but that one teacher taking several classes together at the primary level because of lack of teachers."
He added, "Our on the spot inspection suggests that even this is not a success. Thus, we were told that, in single or two teacher schools, teachers teach one or two classes on any single day, letting children of other classes loiter around. This has happened because the Gujarat govrrnment implemented the Right to Education Act, 2009, two years later."

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