On the eve of the launch of “My Scholarship Program” on November 3rd, revealed to us shocking statistics of the Nagaland State. It had the highest dropout rate in India. Another survey conducted by World Bank also gave us the same details. Our National Average Dropout Rate stands at 4.3%.
- Primary Level (I – V) 19.4% = nearly 5 times the National Avg
- Upper Primary Level (VI – VIII) 17.7% = at 4 times the National Avg
- Secondary Level (IX & X) 35.1% = at nearly 8 times the National Avg
The Nagaland Chief Functionary (NCF) and the Community Avenue Network of Youth (CAN Youth) with the support of several communities, civil societies, NGO’s, Student Unions and especially Students are planning to get the rates go down. At first their target is set at 50 students and gradually would cover the whole state.
Government policies were successful in enrolling the children into schools but making them stay in school to continue their education is the real task at hand. Not trying to be ironic, Government schools showed higher dropout rates than others.
Reasons for Dropouts
- Migratory families, high number of child marriages, schools lacking basic infrastructure like a roof, a floor, a room, a toilet or drinking water.
- Financial constraints imposed on the children and first cut in the expenditure is the school fee. This leading to child labor.
- Accessibility to the school, safe roads, reliable transport facility etc. The parents expect a school to be in close proximity due to the terrain and climate of the State.
- Unenthusiastic school atmosphere, abusive nature of teachers, lack of books and accessories are few of many reasons for dropouts.
It is in-evident and to be duly noted that there can be no one single picture for the whole nation. It differs variedly region wise. Even in major cities, the dropout rates are over the National Average of 4.3%. They might might still be under their respective State Averages but are existent in shocking numbers. For Example: Dropout rates of Hyderabad and Mahbubnagar districts have a lot of differences. Similarly, the dropout rates of Visakhapatnam and Nellore districts too have wide differences.
This shows that the local, social and in-bred cultural factors are effecting the retention of children in schools. So, the root cause lies at the roots itself.
Constant observation and alertness by the immediate sources can make a huge difference in nabbing the menace at the bud. Teachers are the best immediate source who can achieve this. They are to be made cautious, conscious and sensitive towards the students backgrounds. They are to be taught how to handle basic problems of absenteeism through proper counselling.
An inculcation of overall social belongingness by including every class of society into the mainstream progress is very much needed. The parents are to be educated and convinced of the values imparted to their children through education. Ensuring safety of their children, especially in the matters of a girl child would ensure us much more positive results.
To be true to their word, the Government should thoroughly implement the Mid-day Meal Scheme, Schemes for infrastructure development, for improving the type of teaching etc. Apart from these,
- Better re-enrollment measures and mid-term admissions
- Setting up of formal or informal centres for dropouts to keep them engaged and interested.
- Recognising the centres authenticity of covering the lost months till the next academic year
- Revamping the whole rote-learning type of education.(The whole country needs this)
On Last Thought
Schools are not to be considered as just literacy centres but as an influential part of a person’s quality of life. Students on the other hand are not to be treated as a lesser priority than any other person on this Indian land. Not to forget, they are the future of this nation and their ability to look at things critically would prepare their young minds for a lifetime.