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Dropping out just does not pay

Economists have found a connection between the state of a family?s education and its income, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 02:05 IST

Economists have found a connection between the state of a family’s education and its income. Now, a government survey which was released on Tuesday talks about this relation in the Indian context.

According to the survey, for families earning more than Rs 2,540 per month, the attendance rate in educational institutions is as high as 68 per cent and the literacy rate is 98 per cent. However, for families earning less than Rs 235 per month, the attendance rate falls below 43 per cent and the literacy rate is just 53 per cent.

The national attendance rate is 50 per cent — that is the number of people in the 5-29 age group who attend educational institutions. Those who do not attend these institutes include the ones who have some education but have since dropped out.

The National Sample Survey Organisation’s Status of Educational and Vocational Training in India has found that attendance is higher in lower age groups and falls dramatically as children reach the age of supplementing family income. From an attendance rate of 821 out of 1,000 children in the age group of 5-14, the number falls to 114 in the 20-24 age group, which means that only 11.4 per cent students reach higher education institutions.

Those who do not attend educational institutions have given various reasons for it but a common refrain is “to supplement family income” — about 55 per cent of such people cite this as the main reason for their not attending school or college.

For women, the reason is different. Some 30 per cent girls say that they have left school because they are needed at home for “domestic chores”. Interestingly, the percentage of such girls is higher in urban areas than in rural areas. In rural areas, 17 per cent of people feel that it is not necessary to educate girls.

The study also speaks of poor skills among Indians. It says only two per cent of people above the age of 15 have technical qualification.

Email Chetan Chauhan: chetan @hindustantimes.com

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