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Curtailing dropout rates in schools

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

When high school and college students leave school without diplomas or degrees, it becomes harder for them to earn substantial salaries, live healthful lives and open doors of opportunity. While dropout rates among some student populations fell over the last decade, every year, millions of learners don’t finish their programs of study.

India has made remarkable strides in attaining near-universal enrolment in elementary education. Data for Grades 6-8 indicates some serious issues in retaining children in the schooling system. A significant proportion of enrolled students drop out after Grade 5 and especially after Grade 8. It will be a top priority to bring these children back into the educational fold as early as possible, and to prevent further students from dropping out.

There are two overall initiatives that will be undertaken to bring children who have dropped out back to school and to prevent further children from dropping out. The first is to provide effective and sufficient infrastructure so that all students have access to safe and engaging school education at all levels from pre-primary school to Grade 12. Alternative and innovative education centres will be put in place in cooperation with civil society to ensure that children of migrant labourers, and other children who are dropping out of school due to various circumstances are brought back into mainstream education.

The first is to ensure that all school-age children are attending and learning in school. The second is to achieve universal participation in school by carefully tracking students, as well as their learning levels. For providing equitable and quality education from the Foundational Stage through Grade 12 to all children up to the age of 18, suitable facilitating systems shall be put in place. Trained and qualified social workers from civil society organizations/departments of Social Justice and Empowerment could be connected to schools, through various innovative mechanisms.

The scope of school education will be broadened to facilitate multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Programmes offered by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and State Open Schools will be expanded and strengthened for meeting the learning needs of young people in India who are not able to attend a physical school. NIOS will offer A, B and C levels that are equivalent to Grades 3, 5, and 8 of the formal school system; vocational education courses/programmes; and adult literacy and life-enrichment programmes.

The requirements for schools will be made less restrictive to make it easier for both governments as well as non-governmental philanthropic organizations to build schools. The focus will be to have less emphasis on input and greater emphasis on output potential concerning desired learning outcomes. Efforts will also be made to involve community and alumni in volunteer efforts for enhancing learning by providing at schools.

How can parents help with curtailing the dropout rates in schools?

Keep an open communication with your child:

Children will hide things from you, however, keep assuring them that you have their back if something goes wrong.

Talk to them about the career realities:

Teach your children about the differences between high school diploma and college degree and how many more doors open for them at each level. When talking about what they want to do with their professional lives, teach them how to find out what educational level is required for interesting jobs. Talk to your kids about your own career path and the paths of others.

Keep pressure to a minimum:

If your child seems stressed by too many extracurriculars and expectations, encourage them to prioritize their education and cut back on things causing them stress.

Stay in touch with the school:

If you're concerned that your child is considering dropping out, it might be a good idea to contact the teacher or principal to discuss your concerns and brainstorm solutions. Teachers get to see students in the academic environment more than parents do, so if you want to talk to your student's teacher about what he or she needs to do to improve their grades, contact them.

Be involved in the child’s education:

Find ways to support your child if he/she is struggling with schoolwork, friends, mental health or figuring out what to do in life. Great examples of meaningful interventions include tutors, mentors, psychologists/counselors or career shadowing.

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