Kolkata, June 18: A large number of students in rural India each year are leaving their studies behind, a fact brought forth by the recently-released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5). Aside from Gujarat and Assam, West Bengal too fares deplorably in this regard.
In rural parts of West Bengal about 98% male students below the age of 10 years are enrolled in schools but the number drops to 79% for those between the ages of 14 and 15. During the ages of 16 and 17 years, a time when there are board examinations to contend with, the rate further drops to 58.6%, implying tha 42% of the students are not being enrolled in higher secondary sections. Among female students this rate at 65.2%, indicating that about 35% of female students are abandoning their studies every year and are not being enrolled in the higher secondary level. .
As per NFHS-5 data Kerala is at the top under this yardstick while Gujarat is the worst player.
In rural Kerala about 99.5% of male students between the ages of 16 and 17 get themselves enrolled in schools and about 90.8% reach the higher secondary level. Among girl students about 99.4% are enrolled in schools at the primary level while 93.6% reach the higher secondary level.
However, in Gujarat, while about 96.4% of the male students are enrolled in schools at the primary level only about 45% make it to the higher secondary level. In the case of female students about 97.3% are admitted at the primary level; the number drops to 85.9% when the students are between 11 and 13 years of age and further to 53.7% when the children are between 14 and 15. Finally, only about 29.2% girl students reach the higher secondary level in the state. In BJP-ruled Assam too only about 58% of male students reach the higher secondary stage while the number is 60.6% for female students.
Out of the fairly larger states about 97.6% students are enrolled in the primary level in Maharashtra while 74.7% reach the higher secondary stage; in case of female students the rate is 66.9%. In Telengana about 76.7% of overall students reach the higher secondary level and 70% of them are girl students. In Andhra Pradesh about 70.2% of students reach the higher secondary stage with the number at 58.6% for girl students. In Karnataka about 68.6% of male students and 62.7% of female students reach the stage. In Bihar, while 90.5% of students are admitted to schools at the primary level, only 69.2% of them make it to the next stage.
Interestingly, the two aspirational developmental models being debated are the Kerala Model and the Gujarat Model. The latter endears itself to neo-liberal economics with scant public policy intervention in the case of the state's development which is taken care of by laissez faire industrialisation.
Under the Kerala Model Constitutional bodies are strengthened and the state's role in providing for education, health, housing and nutrition is well accepted. The study clearly shows the resultant disparities that come about due to the difference between the two models.
NFHS-5 Secondary Education Trends by state
||Male Student enrollment
At HS level compared to primary enrollment
|Female student enrollment at HS level as compared to Primary enrollment
||Bottom ranked 3rd
||Bottom ranked 2nd
||Bottom ranked 1 lowest in all indices