THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 4 September 2018 (Still too many children out of school)

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.

Way forward

•    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. 

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