The number of students in rural India who have studied up to Class 8 has doubled in the past 10 years, but the skills they acquired have been “worryingly low”, found the Annual Status of Education Report for 2017.
The report, ‘Beyond Basics: A survey of Rural Indian Youth’, by NGO Pratham was released on Tuesday. It found that 86% of India’s youth, between the ages of 14 and 18, are enrolled in formal education.
However, at age 14, only 5.3% are not enrolled, but by 17 years of age this becomes 20.7% and rises to 30.2% by the time they turn 18.
The report said this was a worrying trend as at least 10% of India’s population is in this age group, which means a large number of young people are not in the formal education system.
The report said while many dropped out because of financial constraints, others lost interest. While 50% boys who left school said they did so either because of lack of interest or because they failed, 32.4% of the girls who dropped out said it was because of family constraints. After Class 8, more girls dropped out of school than boys, according to the report.
This is the first time the study included the older age group of 14 to 18. The aim was to find out what happens to Indian rural youth between elementary school and adulthood, the report said.
The survey asked children if they were currently studying, working, or doing both. It studied if children were able to apply basic reading and arithmetic in everyday life. It also asked them questions to find out how exposed they were to media and what their educational and career goals were.