School Dropout

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The problem of dropout has been continually troubling the primary education system not only in India but in other developing countries also. Dropout does not mean mere rejection of school by children. It leads to wastage of the funds invested in school buildings, teacher’s salaries, equipment, textbooks and so on. It also means the existence of some deficiencies in the organization of the primary education system. The subject of ‘dropout’ or ‘wastage’ has been studied in India and other countries over the past 65 years and many of the reasons for this educational malady are now known. However, it is not easy to deal with the malady because its origin lies partly within the system itself which has been designed by scholars, politicians and administrators. Their intentions may be beyond reproach but the major lacuna in their designs has been the absence of a comprehensive dialogue with the people to understand their perception of education and of the place of the child in the family. This is the reason why several developing countries are now reorganizing the primary education system so as to make it people-oriented, instead of official-oriented. Decentralization of administration to the level of villages or at least a block of villages has to be considered seriously and systematically if universal primary education is to materialize. The proper area for selection and appointment of teachers could be the block so that they may be known to the community and find it easy to obtain community co-operation through dialogue and debate. Seasonal variations can be understood by a local teacher as a factor for adjusting the learning time and days during the year. Alongside, the teacher and the parents can utilize development schemes to enable poor families to increase their income and ensure that children are not required to earn their keep and miss the school for that reason. The present study has found that all the usual causes of dropout exist in the blocks selected for study. It is also found that lack of proper roads essential to enable the children to walk to school is also one of the reasons for difficulties in school attendance in some areas. Perhaps, for a similar reason, and a few other reasons also, teachers’ attendance in schools is irregular. Lack of proper road communication can be one of the major causes for children’s non-attendance and dropout. The fact that one of the main reasons for non-attendance and dropout is the ill-health of the children caused by ignorance of hygiene and inadequate availability of health services is however not highlighted. A large number of rural and tribal children suffer from worms, scabies, malnutrition, weak eyesight, and dental caries and so on. Greater participation of primary health centres and sub-centres in promoting health programmes for the poorer sections in the villages, and particularly for children, may reduce the dropout caused by ill-health. Ultimately, one has to admit that the problem of dropout is not connected simply with school-related problems such as disinterested teachers and school infrastructure. In the rural communities, it is poverty, ignorance, superstition and cultural constraints (particularly relating to girls) that obstruct schooling. It may be possible to address these problems if government seeks the help of non-government organizations dedicated to the cause of health education and poverty alleviation. Also, micro-level development planning from an integrated health and education standpoint may help evolve alternative systems of access to school and retention of all types of children in primary education. Attention to local contexts and a rational view of dropout may help achieve the goal of universal primary education fairly early.

Objectives of this Study

The main objective is to examine the dropout in the selected districts with regard to: * Extent of dropouts and absenteeism at each standard from I – VII with special...
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