Oct 4th 2015 : The Times of India  

12% girls' dropout in 2014-15: Report



JAIPUR: Protests, school lockouts and rallies by school students from tender age of 8 to senior ones demanding teachers, toilets, drinking water and books have become order of the day in country's biggest state, Rajasthan. Since the new session started in June, over 300 schools, a significant number of them girls' schools have demonstrated over similar basic demands which the state is mandated to provide all basic facilities under Right to Education Act-2009. The indifferent attitude of consecutive governments for girl students is responsible for 12% girls' dropout, recorded in 2014-15, which is highest in the country.

The state doesn't just lead the country in the dropouts but gender divide is also shameful. The number of girls in the state government schools is decreasing since last three years. For the 2013-14 period, in primary section, for every 100 boys, the ratio of girls enrolled was 87, said the District Information System for Education (DISE) survey. The gap widens in senior classes with 69 girls for every 100 boys in Classes XI to XII.

This is less than the national average of 93 girls for 100 boys. The state's performance is poorer compared to states like Bihar (98), Uttar Pradesh (95) and neighboring Madhya Pradesh (91), which have poor infrastructure. The wide gender divide is evident from the number of girls/ women in the government jobs, especially in teaching. Figures point out that off 6.33 lakh teachers, 4.1 lakh were males and 2.1 lakh were female in the year 2014-15 among 1.06 lakh schools in the state.

The Census report 2011 on education released recently has only reiterated the facts mentioned above. It slapped the consecutive governments for having 11.35 lakh girl population in the age group of 15-19 years recorded out of the schools (dropouts). The dropout figures constitute for about 15% of the total population of 73 lakh in the same age group, which is second highest among BIMAROU states and below the national average of 14%.

These figures may be recorded in the past but future also doesn't look bright. The brutal lathicharge by police on protesting girls in Tonk is one among several such incidents which took place in the state in the new session. In all such episodes, state reaction is very peculiar with deputing teachers in the effected school leaving vacuum at other schools.

Since the new government takeover, they have been engaged in several educational reforms starting from rationalization of teachers, merger of schools, staffing pattern and also teachers' evaluation scheme, introducing comprehensive and continuous evaluation and transfers but has failed to address the problems girls have been demanding.