Even as the Delhi government maintains that they have drastically uplifted the education sector, a recent survey has found that more than 30 per cent children in the age group 6-14 years have either dropped out of the school, or were never enrolled. The data for the survey was collected from 17 urban settlements in Shahdara and districts from Northeast and East Delhi. The survey also says that pensions and other old-age benefits were denied to 62.6 per cent of the elderly persons.
The report has been published by the Institute for Human Development – based on the data collected between October 2017 and March 2018, with the support of Mahila Pragati Manch and Centre for Advocacy and Research. Out of 3,914 children in the said age group, 1,086 dropped out of schools due to various reasons including poor economic background and lack of interest in studies. Sixteen percent of the students had to support their family, and were forced to leave the schools. Twenty four of the 64 surveyed differently abled children had never got the opportunity to enroll in a school.
Apart from the exclusion from education system, the survey also analyses how effective the pension schemes for the elderly are. Over 62 per cent respondents –1,378 out of the total 2,199 – are not getting the pension and other benefits for the senior citizens. There aren’t many differences in the cases of widows and differently abled children. With79 per cent living in these 17 slums as widows, around 31 per cent of them are denied widow pensions. In the case of differently-abled children in the age group 6-17 years, of the 444, 176 do not have any certificate to access the schemes provided for the differently abled children.
Earlier, in December 2017, Praja Foundation’s report on the state of education in Delhi had disclosed a fall of 7 per cent in enrolment in municipal and state government schools, as compared to the enrolment in the previous year. As many as 85,412 students from these institutions had dropped out of the education system in the 2016-17 academic session itself. Also, a significant decline of 30 per cent had been witnessed in the entry-level – Class 1, since 2010-11. However, the survey had found that the unhappy parent’s lenience towards private schools resulted in the drop in the entry level in government-sponsored schools.
Simply put, the Delhi government’s increased focus on education sector has been responded to, in a way, by an increase in the dropout rate and decline in the entry in the government and municipal schools in the capital city.