The school dropout rate at the secondary level including Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka, Assam and Punjab were higher than the national average of 12.6 per cent in 2021-22, according to official data. The minutes of the Project Approval Board (PAB) meetings held by the Ministry of Education to discuss the implementation of the "Samagra Shiksha" project for 2023–2024 were used to compile this information.
This year, between March and May, meetings were held with the states and union territories. According to officials, the government sees dropout as a roadblock to reaching the new National Education Policy's goal of a 100% Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) at the school level by 2030.
The details of the PAB meeting minutes show that the dropout rate at the secondary level in 2021–22 was 20.46 per cent in Bihar, 17.85 per cent in Gujarat, 20.3 per cent in Assam, 16.7 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 17.2 per cent in Punjab, 21.7 per cent in Meghalaya and 14.6 per cent in Karnataka
In West Bengal, though the dropout rate has improved substantially from 2020-21 to 2021-22, particularly at the elementary level, it needs to continue taking adequate measures to reduce the dropout rate and improve the retention rate at the secondary level, it was noted in one of the minutes.
There are a lot of out of school children in the Union Territory of Delhi. Details of out of school children mainstreamed should be uploaded on PRABANDH portal, it was stated in one of the documents. The minutes did not have the dropout rate figures for West Bengal and the national capital.
In Madhya Pradesh, the dropout rate at the secondary level has declined from 23.8 per cent in 2020-21 to 10.1 per cent in 2021-22, data showed. The state runs a special enrolment drive every year with focused household survey with the help of a mobile app, it was noted.
Data showed that in Maharashtra, the annual average dropout rate at the secondary level had declined from 11.2 per cent in 2020-2021 to 10.7 per cent in 2021-2022. However, the dropout rate in five districts of the state is 15 per cent and above.
In Uttar Pradesh, the annual average dropout rate is "very high" in districts of Basti (23.3 per cent), Budaun (19.1 per cent) , Etawah (16.9 per cent), Ghazipur (16.6 per cent) , Etah (16.2 per cent) , Mahoba (15.6 per cent), Hardoi (15.6 per cent) and Azamgarh (15 per cent), the collated data showed.
The dropout rate in Rajasthan, is consistently decreasing, but the dropout rate amongst scheduled tribes (nine per cent) and Muslim (18 per cent) children is still "very high" at the secondary level, the documents showed.
The survey of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) last year states that in India, 33 per cent of girls drop out of school due to domestic work. It was also found in many places that after leaving school, children started working as labourers with their families or cleaning people's houses