According to the Ministry of Education, secondary schools have the highest dropout rate in the Union Territory’s School Education Department.
Despite the government’s claims of admitting more than one lakh additional students to the School Education Department, the Ministry of Education (MoE) reports a roughly 17 per cent dropout rate among secondary school students.
The Ministry of Education also revealed that secondary schools have the highest dropout rate in the School Education Department.
Drop-out rate is a cause of concern
According to official records, the drop-out rate at the secondary level as per Unified District Information System for Education + (UDISE) 2019-20 was 16.68 per cent across the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Ministry of Education has also advised the responsible authorities that the dropout rate in Jammu and Kashmir has to be prioritized in order to reach the objective of curbing the rate at an acceptable level.
It also directed the School Education Department to expedite the community-based surveys for identifying the causes for such dropouts.
Gross enrollment ratio is also poor
Apart from the dropout problem, the Ministry of Education has said that, while citing UDISE+ 2019-20, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at secondary and upper secondary levels is 58.66 per cent and 38.40 per cent, respectively.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir must establish an effective and comprehensive strategy to enhance gross enrolment at both levels, the Ministry of Education advised.
Poverty believed to the prime cause
Meanwhile, many teachers, who talked to Digpu News about the causes behind the decrease in student enrolment, blamed poverty and illiterate parents.
According to one of the teachers, Mohammad Shafi, who teaches in a remote village of Shopian district said that one of the primary causes for the fall in enrolment in public schools is poverty among students.
“The majority of students at government schools are from low-income households who drop out in the middle of their studies to help support their families,” he added.
Another teacher posted at a government school in Pulwama town, Hamid Mir, expressed that there are numerous situations where a student from a middle-class or low-income household opts for dropping out of school in the middle of their studies. “Poverty is cruel. And, unfortunately, free books and food are not enough for many children to continue their studies,” Mir said.
He, however, added that students at government schools do receive fundamental benefits, but that the negative impression of government schools has contributed to the downfall.