HYDERABAD: The dropout rate among boys is higher than girls in schools across the State, according to a recent Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) report for the academic year 2019-20. Meanwhile, a decrease in the overall dropout rate has been registered in the last few years. However, activists and teachers anticipate that the dropout rate in the State will witness a drastic increase due to the pandemic, which forced children to stay at home.
Telangana, in the last few years, has seen a positive change in its dropout rate data. In 2019-20, the school dropout rate in secondary level was at 12.3 per cent, for upper-primary it was 0.1 per cent and there was no dropout in the primary school, as per the UDISE+ report. In 2018-19, the State dropout rate for secondary school stood at 13.5 per cent, 2.9 per cent for upper-primary, and 1.9 per cent for primary school. While in 2017-18, the dropout rate for secondary school stood at 17.1 per cent, upper-primary at 2.6 per cent, and primary at 3.5 per cent.
The data suggests that more boys in primary schools drop out than girls. For the year 2019-20, the secondary level dropout rate among boys is 14 per cent, while among girls it is 12 per cent. Similarly, in upper primary classes (6-8), it’s 0.4 per cent among boys, while it is 0.1 per cent among girls. A similar trend can be seen from the data for the last few years at primary and secondary levels.
Covid-19 butterfly effect
At the peak of Covid-19, the government was forced to shut schools, leaving 42,575 (till higher secondary schools) students in the State without in-person learning. Stakeholders, including government schoolteachers and activists, claim that efforts put in over the years to decrease the dropout rate will be undone due to the pandemic.
A government school teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said, “With schools shut for almost two years now, we are already seeing children, especially in rural areas, helping their parents with labour work or other odd jobs. While male children are being sent to work, many girl children are being forced into child marriage.” Another activist claimed that the longer children remained out of school, more the chances of the dropout rate increasing.