ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Radhika SarafSubscribe to Radhika Saraf

Out-of-School Children

The figures for out-of-school children put out by various official sources in India show wide variations. The problems lie not just in the definitions but also in methods of estimation. A glaring lacuna in this process is that sporadic or irregular attendance is not taken into account when estimating the number. This paper unpacks the phenomenon through an intensive micro-study of enrolment and attendance of all children in a single panchayat in India. It shows that irregular attendance accounts for a much larger proportion of out-of-school children, with wide variation in attendance across social groups. It also conducts a regression analysis to analyse school and household-level factors that affect student attendance. It finds that school-level factors play a much larger role in determining student attendance.

Skill Training or Nipping Potential in the Bud?

The introduction of skilling programmes in government schools from the secondary level itself--as part of the Indian government's ambition to make India the "Skill Capital of the World"--will restrict young people, largely from socially underprivileged backgrounds, to low-productivity blue-collar employment in the informal sector. What is needed is not truncated education in the form of vocational training, but quality basic education for all, which will enable young people to compete for employment in the formal economy.
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