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Reducing the school dropout rate for girls will require more than just policy interventions


The dropout rate in India continues to stump both policymakers and educationists. The Unified District Information System for Education Plus 2019-’20 report released on June 29 does not give us much cause for celebration, especially when you compare it with another document “Education at a glance” put out by the Union Ministry of Education.

It has shown marginal difference since 2014-’15 but the pattern remains resolutely fixed.

What report says

A higher percentage of boys drop out at the primary level than girls (Class 1 to Class 5). However, at the upper primary level (Class 6 to Class 8), more girls than boys drop out. The dropout rate reverts to its original position at the secondary level (Class 9- Class 10) where a higher percentage of boys drop out than girls. This is how the situation was in 2014-’15 and this is how it is in 2019-’20.

So, what has changed? For each category of school education, the percentage of those no longer enrolling in school has decreased. For instance, the percentage of girls dropping out at the primary level has declined three times over the last five years (from 3.88% to 1.2%). The dropout rate for girls at the upper primary and secondary levels is not as…

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