Bengal ranks first in decline of school dropout rate: Survey

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Kolkata, Oct 30 (PTI) West Bengal occupies the top position in the decline of dropout rate among school students during 2018-2020, the ruling Trinamool Congress said in a statement quoting a national survey.

According to the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2020, the school dropout rate in the state declined from 3.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent while it went up from four per cent to 5.5 per cent at the national level, the statement said.

The dropout rate in some bigger states like Karnataka, Telangana and Rajasthan was 11.3 per cent, 14 per cent and 14.9 per cent respectively, the statement said quoting the survey conducted among 52,227 families of 16,974 villages in 584 districts of 26 states.

According to the survey, West Bengal also holds the first position in the country in terms of text books provided to the students with 99.7 per cent coverage, while in bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, the same stands at 79.6 per cent, 60.4 per cent, 95 per cent, 34.6 per cent and 80.8 per cent respectively, the statement said quoting the report.

'West Bengals initiative to continue education during the COVID-19 pandemic through digital and other electronic modes has also been acknowledged in the report,' it said.

Chairman of the Syllabus Committee Aveek Majumder told PTI, the significant decline in the dropout rate was made possible by the continuous efforts of the state to ensure that not a single child, including girls, left studies due to financial reasons.

'We have been following a policy where every child in state-run and state-aided school is given text books according to the curriculum decided by the syllabus committee. This has been going on for past several years. The high percentage is a reflection of that policy,' he said.

During the pandemic, the school education department ensured that students were imparted tutorials in the best possible manner as the institutions were closed, Majumder said.

'From tutorials on TV channels to online classes, every possible alternative was adopted in the present situation. In madrasas, parents were given study materials during midday meal distribution on certain dates and the guardians returned the home tasks on designated dates later on,' he said.

Asked if classes can be resumed on TV channels with no definite information on school reopening yet, Majumder said, 'we will go by the advisory of the state and decide accordingly'.

The ASER report is an initiative by the Pratham Education Foundation which conducts a survey in the entire country every year.

Pratham is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in the country which works towards providing quality education to underprivileged children. PTI SUS MM MM