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Fewer children enrolling in primary school

Fewer children enrolling in primary school

NEW DELHI: The net enrolment ratio (NER) at the elementary level in most states and Union Territories is declining, revealing a serious challenge for the Centre and states according to the Niti Aayog’s school eduction quality index.
Eight of 20 large states also show a dip in mainstreaming of out-of-school schoolchildren by over 10 percentage points from the base year of 2015-16. Mainstreaming here implies bringing these children back into the school system.
In the first state-wise ranking on education, majority of the states also showed a slide in learning outcomes in languages and mathematics as the levels go up from class III to class VIII. This is in keeping with other national level education outcome surveys over the past 10 years or so.
As reported by TOI on Sunday, Kerala, Rajasthan and Karnataka are the top three states respectively in the large states category, while Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh are ranked at the bottom three at 18, 19 and 20 respectively.
States seem to have failed in mainstreaming a large number of identified out-of-school children with Kerala showing a 24.3 percentage point drop, and Punjab (18.8), Chhattisgarh (15.5) and Bihar (14.4), recording a big drop.
The index also has an “incremental ranking” and states to have significantly improved are Haryana, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, though they have a lot of catching up to do in terms of overall ranks. For smaller states the best performing are Manipur, Tripura and Goa, while same is true for Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Puducherry in the UT category.
The biggest drop in NER of 10.3 percentage points between 2015-16 and 2016-17 was recorded by Jharkhand. Of the 20 large states, 11 recorded a decrease in NER at elementary level. Three of eight small states also saw a decrease. Barring Delhi, which maintained its 100% NER, all the other six Union Territories too had negative growth.
At secondary level, NER in states like Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir dropped below 50%. In 2015-16 all the 20 large states, seven UTs and six of the eight smaller states had over 50% NER at secondary level.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog said: “This index brings an outcome focus to education policy. We have developed a platform to foster the spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practices across States and UTs. The objective is to assess the delivery of quality education by the states.”
The states’ education system were assessed based on outcomes—learning, access, infrastructure and equity.
Rajiv Kumar, vice chairperson of Niti Aayog, said: “The worrying signs is on the equity index as most states have been at around 60”. He added “now we shall also focus on pre-school children. If Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is linked to SEQI it will be beneficial for the states.”
Rina Ray, secretary, school education, ministry of human resource development said that the ministry is in dialogue with the World Bank for performance-based incentives to states where the best performers would likely have access to additional grants for school education.
TimesofIndia

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