Skip to main content

Right to education? Dropout rate increases to 13.1% from 2.8% when child turns 15

By Piyush Arya* 
"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family." - Kofi Annan
The Right to Education (RTE) Act guarantees every child within the age group of 6 to 14 free and compulsory education. The Act received legitimacy in 2002 when it was inserted into Article 21A as a fundamental right. Further, in 2009 it obligated the state for the right to education. 
Schemes like mid-day meals were also enacted to incentivize parents and children to come to school and have nutrients for sound physical and mental health. RTE would also help reduce child labor from Indian society and go a long way to removing India's poverty. 
RTE successfully increased the enrollment in upper primary (class 6-8) by 20 percent between 2009-17. It also helped in achieving high enrollment among girls and has reduced the overall dropout to half. As per the last census, India's literacy rate stands at 74% overall, and that of males and females stands at 82% and 65%, respectively.
These stats paint an excellent story for RTE; however, the picture seems not so great if we look at details. Schools lack necessary facilities such as separate toilets for female students or potable water, especially in rural areas. Many areas lack schools in their vicinity, which forces the students in these areas to remain out of schools.
Quality of education is a primary concern under the RTE Act. Pratham, an NGO, that releases the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), reports various findings related to RTE. ASER 2018 reported that more than 50% of class V students could not read and comprehend text prescribed for class II students. RTE also doesn't have any laws talking about punishment in school. Several students have been severely punished by teachers and school staff. This, too, is one of the factors which leads to increased dropouts amongst students.
Looking at the enrolment data in the age group of 6-14, we don't see a significant increase in enrolment over the years after 2009. However, if we look at the attendance in private schools, it has dropped slightly. Looking at some stats from the infrastructure side, schools with drinking water and toilets have increased significantly. However, schools with computers are still relatively low and stand at approximately 21%.
A look at teachers' stats shows that 93% of teacher candidates failed the National Teacher Eligibility Test in 2012. A lot of teachers remains absent during school hours. Unavailability of qualified teachers leads to an increase in the student-teacher ratio lowering the quality of education. The primary reason for low availability is due to low pay being offered to them. Statistics show that around 10 lakh posts for teachers are vacant.
RTE mandates teachers to conduct elections, conduct surveys, and perform disaster-related activities, which further reduces their efficiency. According to reports, teachers were involved 81 percent of the time in non-teaching activities in 2018. If teachers are relieved of the burden of election duties, they can devote up to four times more to teaching, as per the report, "Involvement of Teachers in Non-Teaching Activities and its Effect on Education."
The Act covers only students belonging to the age group of 6-14 years. Owing to this policy, we see dropout rates increase to 13.1% from 2.8% when a child turns 15. The change is necessary as when the age limit was proposed in 1995, it was sufficient to have education till 14 years. 
However, the rapidly changing environment of education till 18 years is also short and should be even extended further. No detention policy has made the motivation levels of students relatively low. This could be why when students reach the age of 15, he cannot cope with education levels, and the stress of failure forces them to drop out.
The private schools which admit students under the Act are exposed to a discriminatory treatment by their managements. Activists working for the RTE Act's improvement tell us that separate classes are often held for the students under the RTE. Few schools have crossed all the limits and have started to schedule their classes in different time slots in different rooms. Government is also partially responsible for this as the reimbursement of the fixed cost mandated to these schools is not done regularly.
While implementing the RTE Act, private schools adopt discriminatory treatment. Only 12% of these schools are RTE compliant
Schools often find it economically suited to deny the students under RTE a fair treatment. The Government also does not cover the additional costs such as uniforms, stationery, and other items that sometimes go way beyond poor parents' reach. This often leads to denying a deserving student of a means to achieve education.
Even after several years of implementing the RTE act, only 12% of the schools are RTE compliant. The Government also has been allocating only 3-4% expenditure of GDP every year for RTE. This has been lower as compared to the target of 6% defined by the Kothari Commission.
To improve the RTE Act and the education levels in India, Government needs to take steps soon. Awareness about the Act should be the primary strategy, with both students and parents being made aware of the rights and schools be made aware of the sanctions that can be imposed in case of non-compliance.
The Government should focus on increasing RTE's gambit from 6-14 years to 3-18 to make it more inclusive. Expenditure on education should be increased to levels suggested by the Kothari commission to increase penetration and quality of education.
Further, tests to check the primary education according to the age-groups should be made compulsory to ensure the education is being provided to the students, with the detention being permitted only in extreme cases. The Government should also focus on improving the infrastructure and timely payments of the fixed amounts per student to schools.
RTE has seen some progress on most fronts; however, the quality of education has not improved significantly. The Government needs to play an essential role by creating a system and providing support as education would help us create a better future for the individuals, society, and the nation.
---
*Student, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), wants to spread awareness about critical issues and achieve equality among India's people

Comments

Anonymous said…
What is the source for the information regarding the dropout rates increasing from 2.8 to 13.1%?

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure

Dalit Hindi professor intimidated, harassed by saffron brigade: 400 activists, academics

Counterview Desk  Over 400 academics and activists have expressed alarm at the Lucknow University ‘protests’ on May 10 against Dr Ravi Kant, associate professor of Hindi and a Dalit, stating it is nothing but “intimidation and abuse” over his remarks on the online channel Satya Hindi, which were taken out of context and made viral on social media. “We are even more concerned that such an incident should occur within the confines a university campus, where free speech and expression without fear must ideally be the norm. Violence and intimidation over differences of opinion should never occur in a university”, the statement regrets, asking the authorities at the university and the Uttar Pradesh government to assure him and his family “protection from further harassment or intimidation.” Text: We are a group of academics and activists deeply concerned by the public heckling and intimidation of Dr. Ravi Kant, Associate Professor of Hindi and well known Dalit scholar, on the premises of t