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Over 50% Don’T Graduate To Class Ix, X In Punjab


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Over 50% don’t graduate to Class IX, X in Punjab

January 28, 2011 2:18:54 AM

Rajeev Ranjan Roy | Chandigarh

Over 50 per cent students do not graduate to Class IX and X in Punjab out of those who are enrolled for primary classes. The rest of the children drop out for myriad reasons. This alarming finding is a part of the assessment of education sector in Punjab done by the Planning Commission, which says “the State is yet to achieve 100 per cent universalisation of elementary education for all children.”

The Plan panel says there is decline in the drop out rate in primary and upper primary level in the state, but the poor gross enrolment ratio at Classes IX and X remains a matter of concern. The SAD-BJP Government claims to have initiated a slew of measures to retain the students at secondary level, but the results are yet to be seen.

“The target of 94.62 per cent literacy rate at the end of 11th Plan period in 2012 appears to be over ambitious and the state is expected to achieve a target of 81.20 percent. The male rate is expected to be up to 85 percent against the target of 95 percent,” says the plan panel.

The 94.31 per cent literacy target for females by March 2012 also does not seem to be viable proposition, and the plan panel sees the state government improving female literacy up to 76.31 per cent only. The literacy rates among Scheduled Castes and Muslims, however, are poised to remain much lower as compared to others.

The State Government officials are confident that overall literacy rates would show significant improvement post-2012. “The positive results will start pouring in once the people start fully exploiting the benefits facilities having been put in place,” said a senior Government functionary.

What are the facilities? Punjab has primary schools for within one kilometer radius for nearly 96 per cent habitations, while every village has a middle school within 2-km radius and a secondary school within the radius of 2.5-km. “We are still grappling with the teacher shortage and problem of absenteeism among them,” added the official, who did not wish to be identified.

What are the other areas of concern as identified by the Plan panel? Punjab has gross enrolment ratio of at upper primary secondary level of 67.53 per cent as compared to the national average of 71.15 per cent. This means a lot of children in the age group of 6-14 years are remaining out of the schooling system.

The State has closed down all 973 education guaranteed scheme (EGS) centres with effect from April 2008. A total number of 43,880 children have to be mainstreamed in regular schools. There were vacancies of around 20,000 primary teachers, out of which nearly 13,000 teachers have been recruited. Such a large number of vacancies of primary teachers for years seem to have wrecked havoc with the State’s primary education.

What is the way out? “There is a need to look into redeployment and rationalisation of teachers, particularly in Amritsar, Monga and Sangrur. There are 9.25 per cent single teacher schools, and 13.63 per cent schools are without blackboards,” says the plan panel.

“Ferozepur district with a high concentration of SC population has the maximum number of out of school children. The state needs to develop more context specific interventions, particularly for migratory and urban deprived children. The Government should also enhance the operationalisation of quality monitoring tools,” says the Plan panel assessment.

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