More than 77,600 school students will stand to benefit from the special incentive scheme introduced by the present government to reduce dropout rate in higher education.

Government and aided schools were instructed to enrol students into the scheme that would entitle 10th and 11th standard students to Rs. 1,500 each and 12th standard students to Rs. 2,000 each.

The amount will be kept in the name of the students as fixed deposit in public sector finance companies like Power Finance Corporation and disbursed in cash to the students when they complete the schooling.

According to the Chief Educational Officer T. Mohana Kumar, this and the scheme for distribution of free laptops were intended to serve as a motivation for the students, particularly girls from rural parts to complete Plus Two.

A tenth standard student, for instance, will receive interest for 36 months on the deposited amount.

At the State-level, nearly 25 lakh students will benefit every year, at a total outlay of Rs. 394 crore.

The Government had also promised to provide two sets of uniform for school children at an additional financial commitment of Rs. 59 crore.

Next academic year onwards, each student will receive four sets of uniform, according to the revised budget for 2011-12 presented by the Minister for Finance O. Paneerselvam.

Enrolment and retention of students has been made a priority by the Government in line with the Central Government's enactment of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009.

At the primary and upper primary levels, the focus has been on providing schooling access and quality education. Under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan during 2011-12, the Government has provided Rs. 498.24 crore for improving the basic infrastructure facilities in schools and for training teachers.

Additional allocation of Rs. 27.07 crore has been made for strengthening school management committees.

Likewise, for improving enrolment at higher secondary level, strengthening infrastructure, and increasing standards, the Government has been implementing Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA) from 2009-10. Under this scheme for which the Government has set apart Rs. 150 crore, middle schools are upgraded into high schools and infrastructure facilities in existing secondary schools are strengthened. The drop out rate during 2009-10 was 1.39 per cent and it was to reduce the drop out level further that the new Government came out with the special incentive scheme.

The Government also sought to ensure gender equity in education by raising marriage assistance from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000 along with a four gram gold coin for girls who are graduates and diploma holders.

As per the 2011 census, the literacy ratio in the State is 80.33 per cent. The female literacy ratio at 73.86 per cent is far below that of male literacy ratio at 86.81.