Almost half of students enrolled in upper primary schools in Odisha drop out by the time they complete high school education.

If the latest Economic Survey statistics is to be believed, dropout rate in high schools for the year 2011-12 has been estimated to be at 49.5 per cent.

“Dropout rates at the high school level have been declining at a slower pace. The overall drop-out rate declined from 62 per cent in 2005-06 to 49.5 per cent in 2011-12,” the annual economic survey finds.

By the end of 2011-12, there were 8,280 high schools including 6,111 government and aided schools, 848 recognised high schools, 1087 upgraded high schools, 81 taken over high schools and 1001 other high schools with 64,815 teachers and 15.03 lakh enrolment including 7.14 lakh girls.

It means nearly 7.5 lakh students give up their studies when they complete 10th standard in the State. Dropout rates in case of students belonging to Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste are still higher. There is a need for special attention to address this problem, the survey suggests.

However, the State has fared well in primary and upper primary schools. The overall drop-out rate in UP schools of the State declined substantially from 28.39 per cent in 2005-06 to 3.07 per cent in 2011-12. Similarly, at primary level, the dropout rate declined from 41.80 per cent in 2000-01 to 0.43 per cent in 2011-12.

“Students do not drop out from high schools. I would rather say they are pushed out of the ambit of education. In primary education level, we have almost over 50,000 schools. In the next level – upper primary – there are 30,000 schools. It means there is reduction of 20,000 schools. But finally when it comes to secondary education, the number of high schools is only 8,000. We have not established enough schools to accommodate students from primary in high schools,” said Abani Baral, eminent educationist.