School Dropouts Rate in India – Reasons & How to Prevent Them

February 15, 2024 | By: Extramarks

How to Prevent School Dropouts in India

Education is a fundamental right of every child. It is the foundation through which biases and inequalities present in society can be fought. It equips society to correct the inherited imbalances and provides impetus for growth, parity and opportunity for all. All equalising factors, such as employment, health, gender balance, growth and development, rest on the groundwork laid by education.

The Indian education system is one of the largest in the world, with almost 1.5 million (15 lakh) schools for over  265 million (26.5 crore) children from pre-primary to senior secondary levels across different socio-economic backgrounds*. Despite this staggering figure, India has a projected literacy rate of only 77.7%** (Literacy is defined as literate people aged 7 or older).

The UDIDE+ 2021-22 data shows that the overall school dropout rate of students between primary and secondary levels is only 1.5%, but when we look specifically at the secondary school dropout rate, it is much higher at 12.6%.

Even though a lot of work has been done over the years to boost school enrolments and incentivise students to remain in school, the school dropout rate continues to be significant. This points to the fact that we need to first address the reasons for school dropouts in India.


Reasons for Dropout From School in India

Reasons for School Dropouts in India

Some of the main reasons for school dropouts as per studies are:

*source: UDIDE report 2021-22

**source: Wikipedia – National Statistical Commission report 2017-18

Financial Challenges

The financial burden of educating children for families from lower socio-economic backgrounds becomes a hindrance to the children’s education. These children often drop out of school as the parents can no longer afford to pay even the nominal fees.

Lacking Infrastructure

Lack of basic sanitation is one of the big reasons for female students to drop out of school. Other times, limited spaces and teaching staff mean that different subjects or levels are being taught in the same space at the same time, making it difficult for students to be engaged or keep track.         

Domestic or Economic Obligations

With economic challenges faced by the families, sooner or later, children are made to join the workforce. One of the main reasons for girls to drop out of school is to assist in domestic or household work, while boys drop out hoping to find economic engagement.

Interest in Education

For a lot of these children, the information being taught at schools does not connect with their surroundings or lives. The teaching material available is scarce and outdated. Most of the time, there are no textbooks, and lessons are learned by repetition. The students find themselves unable to cope due to a lack of engagement and simply lose interest.

Effects of Migration

The children of migrant parents of lower socio-economic backgrounds suffer a lack of education due to the nature of their parent’s employment. Even when these children are enrolled in schools, they drop out as soon as their parents need to move to look for new employment at the end of a project or temporary engagement.

Societal Issues

Practices such as gender biases, social norms, and cultural dos and don’ts create discrimination in society, which poses a huge obstacle for children from marginalised backgrounds. These societal issues lead to more disparity which adds to the school dropout numbers.

Early Marriage

Besides sanitation and safety concerns, the prevalence of early marriage customs, especially for girls, is another key reason for high drop-out rates amongst girls. Highly educated girls among the lower income segment tend to be seen as a liability for the family due to the challenge of finding suitable matches for marriage.

Poor Infrastructure & Support

Differently-abled children or those with physical disabilities and mental health challenges face a lot of difficulties owing to a lack of understanding, infrastructure and support for their needs. The insufficiency of resources further increases the gap in access to education for these students.

Entrance Exam Preparation

Entrance exam preparation is a significant factor contributing to school dropouts in India. Many students, especially those aspiring to pursue careers in fields like medicine or engineering, invest substantial time and effort into preparing for competitive entrance exams such as JEE and NEET. As the competition intensifies, the pressure to excel in these exams often leads students to prioritise exam preparation over regular school attendance. This decision can result in missed classes, falling behind in the curriculum, and eventually dropping out of school to focus entirely on cracking these competitive exams. While entrance exams are crucial for higher education, striking a balance between exam preparation and continuing regular education remains a challenge for many students in the country.
Students often also drop out to attend prep classes elsewhere as their prep becomes their priority.

Ways to Prevent School Dropouts in India

The government is spearheading multiple initiatives to drive education, such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, Swachh Vidyalaya, SAKSHAM (for students with special needs), and SWAYAM Programme (self-paced e-learning), to name a few. At the same time, several NGOs continue to do great work in partnerships with both the government and some corporates to further the reach of education in the country. With all these efforts, we are succeeding somewhat in bringing children to the schools, but there is still room to improve in ways that can help prevent them from dropping out before finishing their education. Besides building a robust infrastructure, and driving economic and social awareness, adding some vocational skills to the curriculum can become a good solution for school dropout prevention.

Below are some of the ways to address school dropout rates:

  1. Enhancing Infrastructure and Facilities

The optimal use of allocated funds to enhance and improve infrastructure on the ground plays a crucial role. This includes increasing accessibility of schools close by, ensuring better sanitation facilities, constructing more classrooms, and providing superior studying materials. However, going beyond traditional infrastructure, incorporating Smart Classrooms can have a significant impact on keeping children engaged and motivated in school.

While private sector urban schools often have the benefit of good infrastructure, it’s the government schools in rural and urban areas, and those catering to lower-income groups, that can benefit most from these improvements. Smart Classrooms, with interactive features, engaging content, and the ability to cater to diverse learning styles, can create a dynamic learning environment that fosters participation and excitement for education.

  1. Tracking and Monitoring Systems

A lot of government and developmental bodies work on regular monitoring and stocktaking with schools for children of marginalised populations. Real-time processing of this data and steps to address any challenges at the local level can bring about visible changes in the education sector. Seeing schools invested and empowered to address their problems can incentivise both parents and students to continue their education.

  1. Promoting Community and Parental Involvement

Only when a community takes pride in something can it continue to nurture it. Education is no different. For the students and their parents to see it as an integral part of their growth, educational institutes and bodies supporting them have to foster a sense of achievement within the parents and students. This can be done by celebrating accomplishments big and small. Involving community leaders who show active interest can help parents see education as a worthwhile investment in their child’s future.

  1. Strengthening Teacher Training and Support

A good teacher can help students transform into enterprising individuals. For this, the teachers need the right support and training first. Investing in teacher training is a direct way to increase student engagement through newer and interactive teaching methods. Helping lessen the load on teachers also gives them more time to invest in personal involvement with students to address their unique challenges. Teacher training is also key in creating inclusive classrooms for disadvantaged children with disabilities or ones from marginalised backgrounds.

  1. Vocational Training and Skill Development

Equipping their child to be in a better financial position and giving them a brighter future is the dream of every parent. Adding vocational training and skills to the curriculum is one of the key ways that families with financial difficulties can see value in their child’s overall education. This also keeps children kinesthetically engaged. Students can be given a choice of activities to choose from and excel at. Thereby keeping them involved and, at the same time, training them to be self-reliant.

  1. Private sector collaboration

Last but not least, while the government continues to make efforts to drive education to the grassroots levels, a more active role can be played by the corporate and private sectors in improving the quality of education and its infrastructure in the country. Private and public partnerships can lend considerable acceleration to the objective of development through education by preparing an educated and skilled workforce for a country with such a large population. Even though education is being championed by a few corporates, there is still scope to include it as an agenda across the board.

How Does Extramarks Help?

Extramarks Smart Class Plus

With the penetration of smart mobiles and data networks across the country, tools such as Extramarks Smart Class Plus and Live Class Platform work to make education accessible and engaging for every single child at every level. Students can explore concepts and learn at their own pace or use it to revise and better understand concepts covered in school. It can also be used as a teaching tool in classrooms. At no additional cost to parents, this app helps parents track and see their child’s progress. As a support tool for education, Extramarks hopes to make education engaging for every student, helping them pursue it with ease.

School Integrated Program

Extramarks’ School Integrated Program is another great resource that can help schools prevent dropouts. Extramarks’ School Integrated Program presents schools with an optimal approach to deliver exceptionally effective and impactful competitive exam preparation, giving students the help they need in their schools so they do not have to go elsewhere for their exam prep coaching. The program is designed and conducted by expert faculty that students aspire to learn from in coaching classes in Kota but at an extremely affordable price. Additionally, the added benefit of the comfort of living at home and the familiarity of being in their own school environment helps students focus on their prep as they don’t have to deal with the added stress and anxiety of moving away from home.
Extramarks Smart Class Plus

Last Updated on May 13, 2024

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