The school dropout rate in seven states, including Bihar, Gujarat, and Karnataka, exceeded the national average of 12.6% during the 2021-2022 academic year, according to reports of the Hindu. Bihar reported the highest dropout rate at 20.46%, followed by Punjab (21.7%), Gujarat (20.3%), Assam (17.85%), Meghalaya (17.2%), Andhra Pradesh (16.7%), and Karnataka (14.6%).
The information has been obtained from the minutes of the Project Approval Board (PAB) meetings conducted between March and May by the Ministry of Education to discuss the implementation of the “Samagra Shiksha” program for 2023-2024.
Samagra Shiksha is an integrated scheme for school education that incorporates the erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Teacher Education (TE).
While Rajasthan demonstrated a steady decline in dropout rates, the minutes highlighted the persistent high dropout rates among Scheduled Tribe (9%) and Muslim (18%) children at the secondary level.
It was also noted that West Bengal witnessed a substantial improvement in dropout rates at the elementary level from the previous academic year, although specific figures were not mentioned.
The documents further revealed the presence of numerous out-of-school children in Delhi, although the exact number was not provided. In Madhya Pradesh, the dropout rate at the secondary level declined from 23.8% in 2020-2021 to 10.1% in 2021-2022, attributed to the state’s annual special enrollment drive and focused household survey.
In Maharashtra, the annual average dropout rate at the secondary level decreased from 11.2% in 2020-2021 to 10.7% in 2021-2022. However, five districts in the state still recorded a dropout rate of 15% and above.
The collated data also highlighted districts in Uttar Pradesh with alarmingly high annual average dropout rates, including Basti (23.3%), Budaun (19.1%), Etawah (16.9%), Ghazipur (16.6%), Etah (16.2%), Mahoba (15.6%), Hardoi (15.6%), and Azamgarh (15%).
While Rajasthan experienced a consistent decline in dropout rates, the documents emphasized the persistently high dropout rates among Scheduled Tribes (9%) and Muslim (18%) children at the secondary level.