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More young children dropped out of school in 2021-22, but girl students up, says ministry report

The UDISE report, however, says that fewer children in older classes left school this year; enrollment was also higher in both government and private institutions.

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New Delhi: The dropout rate of young children attending Classes 1 to 8 has almost doubled in a year, latest statistics by the Ministry of Education revealed. This means that more young children left school mid-way this year as compared to last year.

The report, however, showed that the dropout rate for older children has come down from the previous year.

This data has been brought to the fore by the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) Plus 2021-22 report, released Thursday. It is a comprehensive study that provides information about enrollment and dropout rates of school students, about the number of teachers in schools and information on other infrastructural facilities like toilets, buildings and electricity.

As per the figures, the dropout rate at the primary level (Classes 1 to 5) has gone up to 1.5 percent in the academic year 2021-22, up from 0.8 percent in 2020-21. At the upper primary level (Classes 6-8), the dropout rate has gone up to 3 percent in 2021-22, compared to 1.9 percent in the year 2020-21.

In fact, the dropout rate is the highest in three years at the upper primary level. The report from 2019-20 shows the dropout rate was 2.6 percent, which went down to 1.9 percent in 2020-21 and then shot back up again to 3 percent in 2021-22. In all three years, the dropout rate for girls has been higher than that of boys at this level.

Dropout rate refers to the percentage of children leaving school mid-way, pointing to attrition in a classroom, which could be due to various reasons, including personal. The ministry had in the beginning of this year issued instructions to all states to identify dropouts and bring them back to the school system.

At the secondary level, however, the dropout rate has come down to 12.6 percent in the latest report as compared to 14.6 in the previous academic year.

Overall enrollment up 

The report says India added 19.63 lakh new students this year as compared to the previous year, including in both public and private schools. The number of students has gone up to 25.57 crore from 25.38 crore in 2020-21.

It also adds that more than 8.19 lakh new girl students came within the school system. The latest report shows that the representation of girls in schools is now in line with their population in the corresponding age group.

“The Gender Parity Index (GPI) of GER (Gross Enrollment Ratio) shows the representation of females in school education is in line with the representation of girls in the population of corresponding age groups. The GPI value at all level of school education are one or more implying more participation of girls in the school education,” the report reads.

The report adds, “Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) which measures the general level of participation has improved in 2021-22 at primary, upper primary, and higher secondary levels of school education, as compared to 2020-21. Notably, GER in higher secondary has made significant improvement from 53.8 percent in 2021-22 to 57.6 percent in 2021-22.”

Also read: Do laws divide Indian women based on marital status? Supreme Court has key cases coming up


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