Still too many children out of school
Mains Paper: 2 | Education
Prelims level: National Sample Survey (NSS)
Mains level: After 10 years implementation of RTE Act still there are large number children out of school which among SCs, STs and Muslims, Critically examine.
• According to the 2011 Census, the number of out-of-school children in the 5-17 age group was 8.4 crore.
• However, according to a survey commissioned in 2014 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the number of out-of-school children in the 6-13 age group was only 60.64 lakh.
• This is a gross underestimation. It is quite unlikely that the number of out-of-school children came down so drastically from 2011 to 2014,
• It is especially given that there were no significant changes in objective conditions, warranting such a miraculous reduction.
What are the challenges ?
• The number of out-of-school children in India on the basis of the 71st round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) carried out in 2014.
• We took into account the 6-18 age group, which we consider to be the most appropriate for estimating out-of-school children.
• The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act covers only the 6-14 age group.
• According to our estimate, out-of-school children in this age group were more than 4.5 crore in the country, which is 16.1% of the children in this age group.
• In big States such as Odisha (20.6%), Uttar Pradesh (21.4%), Gujarat (19.1%), Bihar (18.6%), Madhya Pradesh (18.6%), Rajasthan (18.4%) and West Bengal (16.8%), about one-fifth of the children in this age group were out of school.
• In Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the proportion of out-of-school children was lower than the national average.
• It is a matter of serious concern that nearly 10 years after the enactment of the RTE Act, and 16 years after the right to education was elevated to a fundamental right, such a large number of children are out of school.
Concerns for low-income families
• The survey covered all those households in these two blocks which had one or more children in the 6-18 age group, the total number of households being 4,205.
• Our survey confirmed the national-level finding that out-of-school children came mostly from low-income, landless and marginal families — 99.34% of the families from which out-of-school children came were either landless or marginal.
• The annual income of the fathers of 58.19% of such children was less than ₹50,000. Also, fathers of 51.18% of out-of-school children and mothers of 88.45% of out-of-school children were uneducated.
• Moreover, fathers of 56.84% and mothers of 33.28% of such children were casual labourers.
Analysing the context
• The most important reason for boys to drop out of school was to take up jobs to supplement the family earning;
• For girls, it was the compulsion to participate in household work.
• There is sufficient evidence to conclude that this is an all-India phenomenon.
• According to the RTE Act and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, these out-of-school children fall under the category of child labour.
• It is, therefore, not surprising that the largest number of child labourers in the world is in India.
Needs to improve RTE
• The non-enrolment of children and their dropping out of school indicated the prejudice against educating girls that is prevalent in India.
• This report also draws on the data of the 71st round of the NSS.
• According to these data, a proportionately larger percentage of girls than boys was not enrolled.
• In the rural areas, the gender gap on this count was as high as 13 percentage points.
• A relatively lower percentage of girls was found going to high fee-charging private schools.
• Similarly, a relatively lower percentage of girls took private coaching, which involves costs additional to those incurred for schooling.
• Very few students in Telangana resorted to private coaching, but among those who did, the share of girls was only 2% of the total number; the share of boys was 6%.
• A much higher proportion of girls than boys dropped out of school after Class 10, after which education is not necessarily free.
• Among these, the proportion of girls was higher than that of boys.
• The most important reason for drop-out (socio-economic conditions of the parents of the children) calls for a more comprehensive approach that is not reflected in the RTE Act.
• Until an adequate number of schools at the prescribed distances from the children’s homes becomes available.
• It would be necessary to provide secure modes of subsidised travel to schools, particularly for girls.
• Another important provision which ought to have been included in the RTE is financial support to poor parents, adequate to enable them to send their children to school.
• There is incontrovertible evidence of a positive correlation between economic incentives and a lower drop-out.
• The social reason for drop-out is lack of awareness of the importance of school education and of the fact that education is now a legal right.
• Ironically, education is the most important instrument for creating this awareness.
• Thus education is a quintessential example of being vested with intrinsic as well as instrumental value — being both the means and the end.
UPSC Prelims Questions:
Q.1) National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) conducts nationwide sample surveys on various socio-economic issues in successive rounds, each round covering subjects of current interest in a specific survey period. Who is the founder of this Organization?
[A] Prof. P.C.Mahalanobis
[B] P.V. Sukhatme
[C] C R Rao
[D] Mohan Dharia
Correct Answer: A [Prof. P.C.Mahalanobis]
UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1 RTE is not a solution to improve the basic education awareness in India. Critically examine.