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Decline in number of out-of – school children in India: A Pratham survey report

According to Pratham's Annual Survey of Education Report, 2007 there is a considerable decline in the percentage of out-of -school children in the age-group of 6-14 from 6.6% in 2006 to 4.2% in 2007.The report is based on the analysis of data collected from 562 out of 584 districts. Jammu and Kashmir is the best performing state followed by HP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Haryana.States like Kerala, TamilNadu and Karnataka are much lower down the order.

There is a decline in the percentage of girls not going to school. In the age-group of 7-10, the % of out-of -school children declined from 5.4% in 2006 to 2.8% in 2007.In the higher age categories of 11-14 out of the school girls have come down to 7.4% in 2007 from 10.3%in 2006.Though declining 20.8% of girls in the age group of 15-16 were out of school in 2007 compared to 22.6% in 2006.

Across all age categories most children go to government schools and even a majority of private schools are government aided. Even the % of children out-of -school facilities like balwadi/anganwadi has come down significantly from 38.8% to 24.7% for age 3,28.1% to 18.2% for age 4,15% to 7.4% for 5 years old and 6.3% to 3.6% for age 6.

Pratham carried out a learning ability test of children at five levels: reading, arithematic, English reading level, English comprehension and problem solving. It found an increase in the learning level from the previous year. The report also shows that children's attendance in class I-V has remained static at 73.4% whereas the overall attendance from I-VIII increased to 75.5% from 74.8% in 2005.Even the % of schools with 75% and more enrolled children attending has increased marginally to 60.2% from 59.7% in 2005.

However teacher attendance has declined from 74% in 2005 to 73% in 2007.But the % of schools with all teachers present has increased to 40% from 34.6%.The midday meal coverage has increased from 74% to 91.6%.

This report shows that Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is making tremendous impact in some of the Indian states.

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