Dropout rate high among Muslim, OBC and ST students

The city has succeeded in achieving an average of zero per cent dropout rate in primary classes as envisaged in the RTE Act, but the drop out rate in some social groups like Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Muslims remains alarmingly high, the data released by the DIS for Education reveal.

As per the data, the annual dropout percentage for primary classes (Class I to IV) in the city is zero which is much better than the state average of 2.2 per cent and that for upper primary is 3 per cent which is slightly higher than 2.6 per cent dropout rate at the state level.

But the dropout rate in backward groups such as OBC (5.7 per cent) and Muslims (4.5 per cent) in the primary classes and ST (16.8 per cent), OBC (9.7 per cent), Muslims (9.8 per cent) in the upper primary classes remains startlingly high in city schools.

According to Mateen Muzawar of Shikshan Hakka Manch, the RTE puts the onus of minimising dropouts on the government. "It's the responsibility of the authorities of the schools located in a particular area and government education officers to make sure that no child of school going age remains out of school," said Muzawar.

An officer with ZP Education Department, who didn't wish to be identified, said the reason for high dropout and low transition rate in ST could be lack of good network of upper-primary and secondary schools in tribal areas.

"The tribal belt has primary schools but once kids complete primary classes, they have to travel 5 to 20 kms for upper primary and secondary schools. This is a major reason for higher dropout rate, especially in case of girls. Many Muslim kids go to Urdu medium schools that also have similar problem with the network of upper primary and secondary schools. This is the most likely reason apart from other social and psychological reasons," said ZP officials.

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