KOLKATA: West Bengal scored the top position for a decline in the list of school dropouts, as per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2020. The West Bengal rate dropped to 1.5% this year from 3.3% in 2018, said the report.
At the national level, it went up from 4% to 5.5% during the period. The survey also said that Bengal is in the first position across the country for providing textbooks for school students. The survey was prepared after communicating with 52,227 families living in 16,974 villages across the country. The ASER report is prepared by the Pratham Education Foundation every year.
Pratham is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in India. It works towards providing quality education to the underprivileged children. The report also mentioned that the dropout rate is alarmingly high in states like Karnataka, Telangana and Rajasthan. In the segment of providing textbooks, Bengal is much ahead of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana.
The syllabus committee of the school education department found the ASER data encouraging. “It was possible because of an integrated support system that ensures timely supply of school equipment, regular classes and mid-day meals and scholarships for deserving students. The success came through the roadmap shown by the CM,’’ said a member of the panel.
The member said an uninterrupted mid-day meal system was one of the key factors behind Bengal’s success. “Even during the lockdown period, food grains used for the mid-day meal are being handed over to the families of the students. Besides, the state government provided shoes, school bags, uniforms for underprivileged students.’’ The dropout rate in the age group of 15-16 fell more than 50%.
Education experts found the state government’s successful awareness drive was the reason and the Sabuj Sath scheme, under which students are given bicycles, also played a crucial role in ensuring transport for the students living in remote pockets of the eastern state.