Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007
Kerala ranks first in education index

Special Correspondent

New Delhi: Kerala ranks first and Bihar brings up the rear in the first composite Education Development Index (EDI) prepared to track the progress of States towards providing universal elementary education.

Prepared by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, the EDI was released on Monday along with the District Report Cards for 2005-06 that are routinely brought out by the District Information System of Education.

Among the best performing States were Kerala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry while Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal keep Bihar company at the bottom. A break-up of the data shows that Delhi tops in primary and Kerala in upper primary while Bihar holds on to its position of being the worst performer on both counts.

Covering 11,24,033 schools across the country, the enrolment of students in classes I to VIII in 2005-06 showed an increase of 12.28 million over the previous year to 168.29 million. However, 180 of the 581 districts reported a decline in primary enrolment.

As for retention at the primary level, Tamil Nadu recorded the best at 100 per cent. Next in line is Madhya Pradesh (95.50) followed by Kerala with a retention rate of 95.37 per cent. At the national level, the retention rate has gone up from 58 per cent in 2004 to 71 per cent in 2005.

The number of repeaters has also registered a fall from 11.83 million in 2005 to 9.9 million in 2006. The biggest cause for the high incidence of repeaters is failure followed by long absenteeism and re-admission.

While failure accounts for 57 per cent of the repeaters, 27 per cent are long absentees and 16 are re-admission cases.

On girls' enrolment, government schools have maintained their lead. As has been the case for the past three years, government schools have recruited more girls than private schools.

Among the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), the enrolment has registered a drop over the past couple of years.

From 20.58 per cent in 2004-05, it has come down to 18.64 per cent among the SCs.