‘Economic compulsion one of the reasons for children dropping out of school’

A sample study conducted in the Shorapur educational block in Yadgir district has found that more than 25 per cent of the out-of-school children were never enrolled in schools. This is a pointer to the fact that the promise of “free and compulsory education” is still a distant dream in the backward pockets of the State.

As part of the study, carried out by Azim Premji Foundation in June 2012 in 53 villages of Shorapur, data was collected from 2,465 households that had 4,443 children aged between six and 16.

Of those surveyed, 773 were identified as out-of-school children. As many as 175 of the 773 children were never admitted to school.

The study revealed that a large number of those who were admitted to school dropped out in the first two years. As much as 56.3 per cent of the dropouts were girls. However, the researchers acknowledge that the issue of dropout among girls was far more severe as the district has a skewed sex ratio of 953 girls for 1,000 boys in the zero–six age group.

A majority of parents and children cited economic compulsion as one of the reasons for children dropping out of school. Surprisingly, distance from home to school was mentioned as a barrier by only 6 to 7 per cent of them. And, 17 per cent of them pointed out that failing in examination was the reason for their children dropping out of school.

Some of the other reasons that contributed to the high number of dropouts were unfavourable school environment and gender norms.

The study also pointed out that one of the variables that has a significant impact on the dropout rate is mother’s literacy. If a mother is literate, the child has 2.5 times more chances of being in school, while father’s literacy has little impact on it, according to the study.