What needs to be Done about High Drop Out Rates in Jammu and Kashmir?

What needs to be Done about High Drop Out Rates in Jammu and Kashmir?
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By Altaf Hussain Haji

Education is the foundation of a society. One can appositely say, a strong society can be built by ensuring that every member of this society is educated. In most countries, governments spends substantial amount on the creation as well as on effective functioning of the educational infrastructure. But to avail such facilities individuals also have to incur expenditure in the form of course fees, examinations, fees cost of books and stationery and so on. While information on the expenditure incurred by governments on education is available from various administrative records of the government, the estimate on the extent of private expenditure incurred can only be obtained through the household survey.
The National Sample Survey office (NSSO) had conducted an all-India household survey on education during the period January – June, 2014. The purpose of the survey was to collect information on participation of persons aged 5-29 years in pursuit of education; the extent of the use of educational infrastructure, facilities and incentive provided by the government and private areas and its impact on current attendance status of population in educational institutions; private expenditure incurred by households on education and the extent of drop-outs and discontinuation from education, and its cases.
Moreover, some specific and important indicators to judge can only be obtained from a household survey. National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) plays an important role for developing various indicators on different subjects including discontinuation of education and school dropout rates. These indicators are used for Planning and Policy formulation. During the survey, the data is collected from households selected on the scientific sampling method for drop out and discontinuing with the following reasons such as (1) not interested in education,(2) Financial constraints, (3) Engaged in domestic activities, (4) Engaged in economic activities, (5) School is far off, (6) Timing , if educational institution not suitable, (7) Language/medium of instruction used is unfamiliar, (8) Inadequate number of teachers, (9) Quality of teachers not satisfactory, (10) No tradition in the community, (11) Unable to cope up with studies/failure in studies, (12) Unfriendly atmosphere at school, (13) Completed desire level/class, (14) Preparation for competitive examination, (15) Non-availability of female teachers, (16) Non availability of girls toilet and (17) Marriage.
According to the Report released by National Sample Survey of NSS 71th round during January 2014 to June 2014 , there are many reasons for drop-out and discontinuing education. The report states that the reason for drop-out and discontinuation is more due to the financial constraints followed by engagement in economic activities and engagement in domestic activities. The drop-out and discontinuing in education in Jammu and Kashmir is more or less same due to similar reasons.
As per the Report, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, there is more drop-out and discontinuing study in rural areas as compared to urban areas with reasons such as financial constraints , engagement in economics activities and in domestic activities.
Other disaggregated and salient features of the Report are:
The 32.3 percent of dropout and discontinuation of education in rural Jammu and Kashmir for males is due to financial constraints and 31.5 percent is due to engagement in economic activities while 35.7 percent of dropout and discontinuation of education in rural Jammu and Kashmir for females is due to engagement in domestic activities. The 24.9 percent of dropout and discontinuation of education in urban Jammu and Kashmir for males is same due to financial constraints and 31.1 percent is due to engagement in economic activities , while 20.0 percent of dropout and discontinuation of education in urban Jammu and Kashmir for females is due to engagement in domestic activities.
The main reasons for dropout and discontinuation of education in Jammu and Kashmir are financial constraints, engagement in domestic Activities and engagement in economic activities which demonstrates, among other things that there is lack of proper implementation of Projects and Schemes meant for the purpose. For instance, the higher rate of dropout due to engagement in economic activities in Jammu and Kashmir is due to non implementation and mismanagement of Labour Laws.
In order to reduce school dropout rates and minimize the discontinuation of education permanently, the most powerful tool is to remain determined for the cause. The form that this determination must take is both vigorous design , execution and implementation of policy , at all levels. The schemes that are extant need to be tightened and monitored assiduously. Education, to repeat, constitutes the foundation of society. We can only neglect it at our peril. It is , therefore, high time to rededicate ourselves to the noble endeavor of providing education for all. The first step could lie in taking the results of the survey seriously and use these as a template for vigorous and long term policy action.

—The author is Director NSS(FOD), Srinagar. He can be reached at: ahhiss25@gmail.com

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