Education in India

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Education in India has strong and ancient roots. India is known to have the 'Gurukul' system from times immemorial dating from Vedic times. In fact the system of education in India is so deep rooted that the caste system has a separate category of people called the Brahmins whose sole job was to teach and educate people. Education in India has always been held at high esteem so much so that the Brahmins got to the highest level in caste rankings. Even today socially a person with more education enjoys more prestige sometimes even breaking age old caste barriers. It is India's strong educational background that is bearing rich dividends in the world job market. India has found new respect across the globe merely because it has a huge database of educated professionals.

The major part of primary education in India is provided by schools with varying statewide syllabus. The national streams of education that are most popular are the CBSE Board and the ICSE board. Colleges follow syllabus and subjects as governed by there affiliated universities. The top priority of students for higher studies are Medicine, Engineering Law, Management and Economics.

Causes, consequencesand prevention for school dropouts in India [New]

School dropouts are primary, middle and high school scholars who do not perform satisfactory academic courses or cope with officialnecessities and eventually leave the school system without completing course/degree. It has been observed that these dropouts are influenced by additional factors and problems emerge in their family or social environment. School dropout rates signify an important statistic to assess the quality and efficiency of educational policy, as well as the performance of individual schools. The problem of dropout has been constantly worrying the primary education system not only in India but in other developing countries also.

Dropout does not mean mere denial of school by children. It leads to wastage of the funds invested in school buildings, teachers' salaries, equipment, textbooks.

It is established in reports that dropout is a general phenomenon of education system in India, spread over all levels of education, in every section of the country and across all the socio-economic groups of population. The dropout rates are much higher for educationally backward states and districts. The rate dropouts is higher for girls in India as compared to boys. Correspondingly, children who belong to the socially underprivileged groups like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have the higher dropout rates as compared to general population. There are also regional and location wise differences and the children living in remote areas/urban slums are away from school. Higher dropout rate has negative outcome on populace and also increase social and economic inequalities. In order to decrease wastage and improve the efficacy of education system, the educational planners need to comprehend and recognize the social groups that are more vulnerable to dropout and major causes for their dropping out.

Dropout has been explained as the percentage of children that stop to remain enrolled in the schooling system. The causes of dropouts have been explored by various social analysts at global scale. Many studies specify that children decide to leave school due to several reasons such as within students' families, schools and communities (and peers) or the child's behaviour. In the meantime, researches have found that socio-economic status are most commonly measured by parental education and income. This is strong predictor of school achievement and dropout behaviour.

Studies also found that in high socio economic status, children get all resources conveniently which support children's to access to better quality schools, private tuitions and more support for learning within home. Poverty is the significant causes of children dropping out of school. Family economic conditions are significant to meet the hidden and upfront costs of schooling, failure of which leads to many temporary as well as permanent dropouts of children.

Hidden costs of schooling include opportunity cost, travel cost, uniform, daily expenditures, while upfront costs include admission fee, examination fee, tuition fees etc. Many researches link dropouts, among many other factors, to poverty. Poor quality education is also major reason of school dropout.

In Indian scenario, despite efforts to integrate all sections of the population into the Indian education system, through mechanisms such as positive discrimination and non-formal education, huge numbers of young people are still without schooling. Reports of UNICEF indicated that the school dropout scenario in the country is "extremely high" as over 80 million children are not completing the full cycle of elementary education, while eight million are out of school over a period of years.

News reports have revealed that the country could not to meet the target set in the 11th five year plan that is lessening in dropout rates from 50 percent to 20 percent at the elementary level.

Table: Drop-out rates of all categories of students 1999-2000 to 2009-2010 (Source: Selected Educational Statistics 2007-08, Ministry of Human Resource Development, GOI)

Weber (1989) andRumberger (2001) stated that the reasons for ceasing school can be grouped into three categories

  1. Family Related Reasons
  2. School Related Reasons
  3. Personal Reasons

Family Related Reasons involve Socio Economic Status, Disadvantaged Groups, Parental Education and Single Parent Families. Many scholars indicated that parental separation and poor heath often pressurize girl children to work or stay back at home to care for younger siblings. Older boys dropped out to get employment.

Children who were orphans found foster homes with relatives. Conversely, these were often short lived with the children being moved from home to home. Education was the loser in these cases. Alcohol abuse, dependency, and illicit brewing of alcohol by the parents were issues that lead to high dropout. A few children were from families who led a nomadic existence, moving from place to place seeking employment resulting in the child moving from school to school.

School Related Reasons include attendance, grades, academic achievement, interest in school and school work. Some families indicated issues such as inability to buy textbooks and a lack of transport to attend school. Several students had failed a class and dropped out of school in subsequently. Some were moved to a different school and later stopped attending.

Personal Reasons consist of Disciplinary Problems, Other extenuating circumstances like marriage

Empirical studies revealed that students, whose parents monitor and control their activities, provide emotional support, inspire independent decision-making and are generally more involved in their schooling then there are less chances of drop out of school.

It is commonly identified that schools put forthsubstantial influence on the attendance, continuation and performance of the children. It is also observed in many studies that resources influence school dropout rates with pupil-teacher ratio having a positive and significant effect on high school and middle school dropout rates. Various aspects of teaching-learning are also associated todropping out. The case of poor teaching-learning transaction leads to low motivation,low comprehension and lastly dropping out is one instance.

Consequently, when the teachers do not prepare lessons well, do not havedesigned scheme of work, do not check the notebooks properly and is not regular, students do not learn precisely. Theseclassroom practices have an adversative impact on the holding of children.

It is also found in many experimental studies that early school leaving at the secondary level is the result of a long process of detachment of children with measurable indicators that exist in the early grades. Some studies designate that poor academic achievement leads to dropping out. Many sociologists stated that child related issues such as disinterest in studies and poor understandingalso leads to dropping out which is related to school quality measured in terms of infrastructural facilities, teacher readiness and curriculum significance.

Presently, High school students are dropping out at shocking rates across the country. There is need to study and explore the real causes of these dropping out rates in India.

To resolve serious problem of school dropouts, it is necessary to re-examine major factors and mechanisms involved. It is one of the major challenges in educational improvement. A significant factor linked to the dropout rate has been the varying nature and determination of schooling itself.

Experts have advised that to curb high rate dropout, school systems should focus prevention efforts in the beginning of the middle grades if not earlier. Researchers have recognizedthat drop out are mainly due to poor grades in core subjects, low attendance, failure to be promoted to the next grade, and disconnection in the classroom, including behavioural problems.

These major indicators must be reviewed by decision makers to design strategy and target prevention resources to the students who are more likely to leave school. Researches have suggested several prevention strategies such as small learning communities and school within a school for greater personalization, partnerships between high schools and feeder middle schools, ninth grade transition programs, support for students with disabilities outside of school.

There are negative consequences of school dropout. Dropping out of school impacts student's self-esteem and psychological well-being, faced with the reality. Students lack in skills and knowledge to fulfil their desires. There are also problem in getting suitable job to young men and women who quit school. Dropouts are considerably more likely to rely on public welfare and health services.

It can be analysed that School dropout is a major concern in India. In spite of putting more emphasis on education, knowledge, and literacy, the drop out is increasing. This is one of the most fearful aspects of the practice of education in India. Sociologists and researchers have identified numerous factors responsible for school drop outs such as poverty level, distance of school from home, transport facilities,quality of teachers, and social environment.

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