After Class 7, one of five kids drops out of school

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BANGALORE: Even as the state marches ahead in terms of enrolment of children in primary schools, the bigger concern emerging seems to be that of children lost during their transition from one class to another. The report also points out that one of every five children who would have started going to Class 7 in 2009-10 batch has not reached the 2012-13 batch of Class X in the state. This puts the transition loss at this stage at 20%.

The transition loss of children moving from Class 7 to Class 8 in 2012-13 was a whopping 57,130. Of these, 32,642 were girls. The loss recorded by the state has increased from 2.68% to 5.57% in a year. For girls, the increase was from 2.96% to 6.56%. This, the government says, is because of the adoption of the student code in DISE 2012, and therefore, better accuracy in monitoring children.

The transition loss could be due to various reasons, ranging from inter-district exchange of population, especially in the border areas, to the rural-to-urban flow.

“The loss could also be because high schools are a little far away from home. While RTE mandates that a primary school should be within 1km radius, it’s 3km for a high school. The dropout rate among girls also goes up because of puberty, insecurity or even the reluctance of parents to send them far. In some parts of Karnataka, they are even married as parents think they are old enough to manage the house. But this needs to be addressed to increase enrolment in higher education,” said Dilip Ranjekar, Azim Premji Foundation.

The total number of out-of-school children is put at 51,994. Of these, 4,330 have never been enrolled. Interestingly, there’s a PIL filed in the High Court, challenging the numbers the government has provided as wrong. According to the social activist, the actual figure is at 6 lakh.

The dropout rates recorded by the state have also gone up marginally, and the reason attributed is to a better count. The highest dropout rate is among ST girls, the value being 8.93%. But Karnataka has come a long way compared to what it was 10 years ago. The dropout rate then was close to 50%.

Completing education important

What RTE can provide is at the entry level. We have to look beyond that to ensure children complete their education. Maybe it’s a different kind of intervention you need. The government has to think on what incentives can be given, minus the mandate. Like how the Tamil Nadu government offers financial incentives for girls completing 10 years of schooling. You might also need social intervention, like convincing parents. Initiatives like no-fail policy might help reduce transition loss as well.

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