Guwahati: The dropout rates in the primary schools in the state have almost doubled in 2021-22, mainly due to the impact of COVID-19 and the identification of fake students’ rolls, said the state’s education minister Ranoj Pegu on Wednesday.
Based on the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) data, the minister in a presser informed that the dropout rate in lower primary schools was 6.02 in 2021-22, up from 3.3 percent the previous year.
Similarly, the dropout rate in the case of upper primary schools was recorded at 4.6 percent in 2020-21 and it shot up to 8.8 percent in 2021-22.
Pegu said, “The number of total dropout students is 1, 29,543. These out-of-school children cover 1, 01,602 dropout children and 27,941 never enrolled children, who were identified through a survey.”
He added that the increasing dropout rate was a national phenomenon caused by Covid 19 pandemic. “The entire education system, mostly the primary education suffered a lot and resulted in school dropout,” he said.
On the other hand, strict surveillance by the state education department has found that several schools in the state were uploading fake student enrolment figures on the UDISE portal in order to get various benefits like inflated mid-day meal allocation, and more money for free school uniforms and textbooks.
The minister said, “To avoid merger or closure of a particular school for low student enrolment, many schools uploaded inflated enrolment on the portal of UDISE directly. A massive drive for data purification of UDISE was being done.” He expected that the situation would stabilize soon.
However, the dropout rate at the secondary level has declined from 31 percent in 2020-21 to 20.3 percent in 2021-22.