Srinagar: The retention rate of students in government schools of J&K is below the national average.
The revelation came to the fore during the Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting convened by the Secretary Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India.
Retaining students in government schools has become a major challenge for the J&K School Education Department (SED).
The PAB meeting for J&K was convened under the Samagra Shiksha scheme for the Financial Year 2022-23 to consider the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B).
During the meeting, the Secretary DSEL expressed concern over the retention rate of students in government schools saying that it was below the national average.
“The retention rate at the primary level is 84 percent and 66 percent at the elementary level. This is below the national average. The retention rate at the secondary level has increased by 7 percent from the previous years,” read the minutes of the meeting released by DSEL, MoE.
“J&K has to take initiatives for 100 percent retention of students in the education system. The continued efforts and need-based strategies are required to improve retention,” it reads.
The analysis, as per the minutes of the meeting, suggested that compared to the primary level, there was a large number of dropouts at the upper primary level.
The DSEL also said that there was a need to lay more focus on the improvement of net enrollment in the lower secondary and upper secondary levels.
“Challenges remain in reducing regional disparities and inequalities among the secondary school-age students from different socio-economic backgrounds,” read the minutes of the meeting.
J&K was also asked to analyse learning outcomes and provide interventions to improve the learning outcomes of the students.
“Provide more access to learning opportunities and to improve learning and skills at all levels and protection for children in emergencies,” the document reads.
In the meeting it was also observed that J&K has achieved maximum grades in the transition of students at different levels “but 100 percent transition has not been achieved so far”.
The J&K SED has been advised to take steps to ensure a 100 percent transition rate in schools from one level to another level.
The Ministry of Education has also expressed its concern over the ailing infrastructure and other facilities in government schools and said that J&K needs to focus on providing uniforms to the students in time within three months of the start of the academic year.
“Moreover, J&K also needs to expedite distribution and provide free textbooks to students within a month of the start of the academic session,” read the minutes of the meeting.
However, the GoI has acknowledged that the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) at the secondary level has improved by 1.17 percent and 11.69 percent at the higher secondary level.
As per the UDISE data, GER at secondary level was 58.66 and at higher secondary level was 38.40 respectively during 2019-20 which has shown an improvement by 2020-2021.
The J&K SED was also asked to focus on accessibility for Children with Special Needs (CWSN) in all schools and functional CWSN-friendly toilets in all government and government-aided schools and provision of aids and appliances for these students as well.