SRINAGAR: Besides possible “data discrepancies”, the J&K government has “no specific definition” of dropout schoolchildren in the state, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has said.
The ministry pointed out the shortcoming along with many others at the Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting of Samagra Shiksha for J&K held on June 20 this year.
The minutes of the meeting were issued recently.
While the decrease in the annual average dropout rate at elementary, secondary and higher secondary levels from 2016-17 to 2017-18 was “good” as per the statistics provided by the state, the MHRD has said, “the state may still have to relook at the rate of dropout to ensure there are no data discrepancies”.
“There is no specific definition of dropout adopted by the state. The state needs to define dropout,” the MHRD has recommended the state in the minutes of the PAB meeting.
The MHRD has told the Samagra Shiksha, J&K, that there was a “need to cleanse the enrolment data in U-DISE (Unified District Information System for Education”.
U-DISE is a database of information about schools across India.
A top official at Samagra Shiksha, J&K, told Kashmir Reader that the MHRD comment came in the wake of “disparity in our data and that of U-DISE”.
“While there are a few thousand out-of-school children, as per the data with us, the U-DISE has estimated such children to number two to three lakh,” clarified the official.
“It is in this context that they have said that we don’t know about them. It is just a communication gap, nothing else,” he added.
While the state government was supposed to enroll the children, the official said that they “have not been able to do any solid work on the out-of-school children”.
The MHRD has said that the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) was “only 75 percent, which needs improvement”.
It has said that the Net Enrolment Ratio at the elementary level “has decreased from 63.01 percent in 2016-17 to 61.70 percent in 2017-18”.
While 26 percent upper primary schools in the state, as per the PAB minutes, do not have subject-specific teachers as laid down by the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 8.28 percent primary and 11.08 percent upper primary schools have “adverse PTR (Pupil-Teacher Ratio)”.
The PAB minutes have revealed that 83 primary schools sanctioned under the erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme were “still unopened”.
“These schools are pending since 2012-13, despite 442 un-served and eligible habitations being available in the state,” read the PAB minutes.
“Out of 68 girls’ hostels sanctioned to the state under the erstwhile RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) scheme, not a single girls’ hostel has been made functional so far,” as per the minutes.
The MHRD has said that as many as 2,427 seats for girl students were vacant in 97 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, which are residential schools for girls belonging to Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs).
Besides over 20 percent posts of subject teachers, the PAB minutes have said that 17 percent posts of headmasters were vacant in government secondary schools.
“State has a large number of single teacher schools,” the minutes observed.