Still too many children out of school -Muchkund Dubey, Ashok Pankaj & Susmita Mitra

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published Published on Sep 6, 2018   modified Modified on Sep 6, 2018
-The Hindu

Data show that the proportion of these children is higher in rural areas and among SCs, STs and Muslims

The official numbers of out-of-school children in India are either out of date or contradictory. According to the 2011 Census, the number of out-of-school children in the 5-17 age group was 8.4 crore. However, according to a survey commissioned in 2014 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the number of out-of-school children in the 6-13 age group was only 60.64 lakh. This is a gross underestimation. It is quite unlikely that the number of out-of-school children came down so drastically from 2011 to 2014, especially given that there were no significant changes in objective conditions, warranting such a miraculous reduction.

A matter of serious concern

We recently calculated the number of out-of-school children in India on the basis of the 71st round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) carried out in 2014. We took into account the 6-18 age group, which we consider to be the most appropriate for estimating out-of-school children, even though the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act covers only the 6-14 age group. According to our estimate, out-of-school children in this age group were more than 4.5 crore in the country, which is 16.1% of the children in this age group. In big States such as Odisha (20.6%), Uttar Pradesh (21.4%), Gujarat (19.1%), Bihar (18.6%), Madhya Pradesh (18.6%), Rajasthan (18.4%) and West Bengal (16.8%), about one-fifth of the children in this age group were out of school. In Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the proportion of out-of-school children was lower than the national average. It is a matter of serious concern that nearly 10 years after the enactment of the RTE Act, and 16 years after the right to education was elevated to a fundamental right, such a large number of children are out of school.

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The Hindu, 4 September, 2018,

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