January 2018 News

Education Sector Worst Hit By K-turmoil: Survey

14 January 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: Even as the midday meal scheme has been initiated to enhance the enrolment in the government schools, the dropout rate of students has increased considerably at the primary level in J&K. According to the Economic Survey Report-2017, in respect of the dropout rate, the mechanism of the Unified District Information System of Education (UDISE) is making startling revelations. The dropout rate has increased considerably from 6.93 per cent and 5.36 per cent in primary and upper primary levels during 2015-16 to 10.30 per cent and 10.20 per cent, respectively, during 2016-17. As per the report, the trend has mainly been due to disturbing conditions prevailing during 2016-17. The data indicates that the education sector, especially the government sector, is the worst victim of the prevailing turbulent conditions in the Valley. The year 2016 had witnessed unprecedented violence after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. While the influential people of the Valley shifted their children outside the state, those belonging to poor and lower middle-class families, who cannot afford education in private schools, are bearing the maximum brunt. However, there is a modest increase in the gross enrolment ratio in the primary and upper levels. During 2015-16, the total gross enrolment ratio at the primary level was 98.26 per cent, which has increased to 98.70 per cent in 2016-17. Similarly, at the upper-primary level, the modest increase from 97.17 per cent to 97.86 per cent was witnessed during the same period. During 2017-18, the number of measures taken such as introduction of pre-primary classes, establishment of model schools, conduct of extra-curricular activities, including cultural activities, and conduct of parent meetings, annual days and remedial teaching are expected to have an impact on the enrolment of children. As far as out-of-school children are concerned, there is a considerable decrease in 2016-17. During 2015-16, the out-of-school children were recorded at 79,598, which decreased to 54,713 in 2016-17, registering a dip of 31 per cent. Similarly for girl students, out-of-school children have dipped from 46,218 to 31,856 during 2016-17 because of various endeavours, especially community mobilisation of the Education Department. Roadmap to plug weaknesses After performing the SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis of the education sector, many weaknesses have been identified like decreasing enrolment, high dropout rates, decreased learning outcome score, lowest literacy rate in some districts and highest pupil-teacher ratio and quality education. The state with help of the MHRD has prepared a roadmap for transforming the education sector in the state. In 2017-18, hectic deliberations were being made by the MHRD with stakeholders and NGOs for preparing a road map that will be completed within three years.