Dropout Rates in Schools in India: An Analysis of UDISE+ 2021-22 Data
Education is the foundation of a prosperous and empowered society. Education plays a vital role in the development of a nation. However, dropout rates in Indian schools have been a major cause of concern for policymakers and educators. It is also a significant issue in many countries worldwide, especially in developing countries.
The dropout rate is measured in terms of the percentage of students who leave school before completing their level/grade. It is a critical indicator of the effectiveness of the education system. The UDISE+ 2021-22 data reveals that the overall dropout rate in schools in India is 1.5 percent, which is lower than the previous year’s rate of 1.8 percent. However, the rate is still a concern, especially in certain states.
The UDISE+ 2021-22 data shows that the dropout rate is highest at the secondary level (9-10) with 12.6 percent, followed by upper primary (6-8) with 3 percent and primary (1-5) with 1.5 percent. The data further reveals that the dropout rate is higher for girls than boys at all levels of education.
The rate is slightly higher for upper primary students (Classes 6-8), with an average of 3 percent. However, the dropout rate for secondary school students (Classes 9-10) is significantly higher at 12.6 percent.
The data also reveals that boys are likelier to drop out of school than girls in all three categories. The average dropout rate for girls in primary school is 1.4 percent, compared to 1.6 percent for boys. In upper primary, the dropout rate for girls is 3.3 percent, while it is 2.7 percent for boys. Similarly, in secondary school, the dropout rate for girls is 12.3 percent, while it is 13 percent for boys.
Average Annual Dropout Rate by level of education and gender, 2021-22
|Average Annual Dropout Rate (%)|
|India/State/UT||Primary (1 to 5)||Upper Primary (6-8)||
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands||0.2||0.7||0.4||0.9||1.0||1.0||6.0||3.9||5.0|
|Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||10.5||8.4||9.5|
|Jammu and Kashmir||3.9||4.1||4.0||2.8||3.2||3.0||5.6||6.3||6.0|
|Source: UDISE+ 2021-22|
Let us take a look at the state-wise dropout rates:
The state-wise data reveals some interesting trends. In some states, the dropout rate for girls is significantly higher than for boys. For instance, in Assam, the dropout rate for girls in upper primary school is 7.6 percent, compared to 10.1 percent for boys. In secondary school, the rate is even higher, with girls dropping out at 20.7 percent, while it is 19.8 percent for boys. Some states, however, have a lower dropout rate than the national average.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The dropout rate in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is relatively low, with 0.4 percent at the secondary level. However, there is a significant difference between boys and girls, with girls having a dropout rate of 3.9 percent compared to boys at 6 percent.
Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh has a high dropout rate of 16.3 percent at the secondary level, much higher than the national average. The dropout rate is also higher for girls than boys at all levels of education.
Arunachal Pradesh: The dropout rate in Arunachal Pradesh is the highest in the country, with 11.7 percent at the secondary level. The dropout rate is also significantly high at the upper primary level at 6.7 percent. The rate is much higher for girls than boys at all levels of education.
Assam: Assam has a dropout rate of 20.3 percent at the secondary level, higher than the national average. The rate is also higher for girls than boys at all levels of education.
Bihar: Bihar has a dropout rate of 20.5 percent at the secondary level, which is also higher than the national average. The rate is much higher for girls than boys at all levels of education.
Chandigarh: Chandigarh has zero dropout rates at all levels of education.
Chhattisgarh: Chhattisgarh has a dropout rate of 9.7 percent at the secondary level, higher than the national average. The rate is also higher for girls than boys at all levels of education.
Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman and Diu: The dropout rate in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu is relatively low, with 9.5 percent at the secondary level. However, there is a significant difference between boys and girls, with girls having a dropout rate of 8.4 percent compared to boys at 10.5 percent.
Delhi: The dropout rate in Delhi is relatively low, with 4.8 percent at the secondary level. However, there is a significant difference between boys and girls, with girls having a dropout rate of 3.7 percent compared to boys at 5.9 percent.
Goa: The dropout rate in Goa is relatively low, with 9 percent at the secondary level. However, there is a significant difference between boys and girls, with girls having a dropout rate of 5.5 percent compared to boys at 12.1 percent.
Kerala: Kerala has a relatively low dropout rate compared to other states in India. The dropout rate in Kerala is also low, with only around 0.1 percent of students dropping out of primary school and 0.4 percent dropping out of secondary school.
Meghalaya: The dropout rate for girls in primary school is 8.6 percent, compared to 11.1 percent for boys. However, the rate for girls in upper primary and secondary school is higher than that of boys, with girls dropping out at 9.4 percent and 20.4 percent, respectively.
Rajasthan: Rajasthan has a high dropout rate, particularly for girls. The dropout rate in Rajasthan is also high, with around 14 percent of students dropping out of primary school and 29 percent dropping out of secondary school.
Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu has a relatively low dropout rate compared to other states in India. The dropout rate in Tamil Nadu is also low, with only around 0.4 percent of students dropping out of primary school and 0.5 percent of students dropping out of secondary school.
Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradesh has a high dropout rate, particularly for girls. The dropout rate in Uttar Pradesh is also high, with around 14 percent of students dropping out of primary school and 31 percent dropping out of secondary school.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have affected the dropout rates, and this data only covers the 2021-22 academic year. The report also indicates that some states have not provided complete data, and the dropout rates may be higher than reflected in the report.
High dropout rates are a cause for concern, as they significantly impact students’ prospects. Dropout rates are often linked to socio-economic factors, poverty & lack of access to quality education. Therefore, it is vital to address these underlying issues to reduce dropout rates and ensure that all students have the opportunity to complete their education
High dropout rates have many negative consequences, both for the individuals who drop out and for society. For individuals, dropping out of school often means limited job opportunities and lower incomes, leading to poverty and other social problems. For society, a high dropout rate means a less educated workforce and lower productivity, which can have long-term effects on economic growth and development.
Many factors contribute to high dropout rates, including poverty, lack of access to quality education, lack of support from families and communities, and social and cultural norms prioritizing other activities over education. Addressing these factors requires a comprehensive approach involving not just schools, educators, families, communities, and policymakers.
Efforts to reduce dropout rates include improving the quality of education, providing financial support to students and families, creating supportive learning environments, and addressing social and cultural barriers to education. Working together can help more students stay in school and achieve their full potential.
Are high dropout rates an area for concern?
Yes, the high dropout rate in India has a significant negative impact on efforts being made toward achieving universal school education in the country. India has made considerable progress in improving access to education, but ensuring that children complete their education remains a significant challenge.
The dropout rate is a clear indication of the inability of the education system to retain students in schools, which ultimately leads to a significant gap in achieving universal school education. The high dropout rate in India is caused by several factors, such as poverty, lack of infrastructure, inadequate teaching staff, lack of interest in education, and the prevalence of child labor.
When children drop out of school, it not only affects their personal growth and development but also has far-reaching implications for the country’s overall development. The lack of education leads to the creation of a population with inadequate skills, ultimately affecting the country’s productivity and competitiveness. It also contributes to the growth of social and economic disparities and exacerbates existing inequalities.
To address the challenge, India needs to adopt multi pronged approach that addresses the root causes of the high dropout rate. This approach should focus on improving the quality of education, creating awareness among parents and communities about the importance of education, providing financial support to needy students, and addressing issues related to child labor. With sustained efforts and targeted interventions, India can reduce the dropout rate and achieve the goal of universal school education for all.
Overall, the dropout rates indicate that while India has nearly achieved universal primary education, there is still a lot of more work to be done to ensure that children continue their education beyond primary school. The higher dropout rates at the secondary level also suggest that efforts must be made to address why students drop out, such as financial barriers, lack of access to quality education, or the need to work to support their families.
Does dose high school dropout affect enrolment in higher education in India?
High school dropout rates can significantly impact enrollment in higher education in India. Students who drop out of high school cannot continue their education beyond that level. This limits their opportunities to pursue higher education and further their careers.
In addition, high school dropouts are less likely to have the required skills and qualifications to succeed in higher education. They may struggle to keep up with the demands of college-level coursework, leading to higher dropout rates in higher education.
Moreover, high school dropouts often come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and may not have the financial resources to afford higher education. This can further limit their opportunities and perpetuate cycles of poverty.
Overall, reducing high school dropout rates is crucial to increasing enrollment in higher education and ensuring more equitable access to education and opportunities for all.
Is India capable of attaining 50 percent GER at a higher education level by 2035?
It is unlikely that India will achieve a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50 percent at the higher education level by 2035 with the current high dropout rates. In order to achieve this goal, India will need to address the root causes of high dropout rates, such as poverty, lack of access to quality education, and social barriers. The government must invest in infrastructure, teacher training, and financial support for disadvantaged students to ensure they can complete their education.
Additionally, efforts to improve the quality of education, especially at the primary and secondary levels, can also help reduce dropout rates and increase the number of students who can pursue higher education. Concerted effort are required from all stakeholders, including the government, education institutions, and civil society, to achieve a GER of 50 percent at the higher education level in India.
How high are dropout rates to be checked?
To check dropout rates, one can do the following:
- Look for official government reports: Many governments release reports on school enrollment and dropout rates at different levels of education. These reports are often found on government websites or through a Freedom of Information Act request.
- Check with educational institutions: Schools, colleges, and universities may also have data on dropout rates. One can contact them directly or check their websites to see if they have published this information.
- Conduct surveys: One can also conduct surveys of students who have left school or college to determine their reasons for dropping out. This can be done through phone, email, or in-person interviews.
- Analyze existing data: Researchers and analysts may already have compiled data on dropout rates, which can be accessed through academic journals, research databases, or other online sources.
Who drops out more, and at what level of education?
Dropout rates vary by region, socio-economic status, gender, and level of education in India. However, girls generally tend to drop out of school more often than boys due to early marriage, domestic responsibilities, and safety concerns. Additionally, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to drop out due to financial constraints or the need to work to support their families.
Boys’ and girls’ dropout rates are relatively low at the primary level (grades 1-5). However, at the upper primary level (grades 6-8), the same for girls is higher than that of boys, particularly in rural areas. At the secondary level (grades 9-10), the overall dropout rate increases for both genders, with girls having a slightly higher rate than boys.
Overall, addressing the underlying causes of dropout rates requires a multi-pronged approach, including improving the quality of education, increasing access to education, addressing socio-economic disparities, and promoting gender equality.
What are the causes of high dropout rates?
There are multiple causes of dropout rates in India, which vary depending on the specific context and region. Some common reasons for high dropout rates in India include:
- Economic factors: Many children come from low-income families and are forced to drop out of school due to financial constraints. Families often need their children to work to support the household.
- Poor infrastructure: Lack of basic amenities such as clean water, sanitation, and transportation to schools can contribute to high dropout rates.
- Social factors: In some cases, social norms and gender biases prevent girls from continuing their education. Child marriage is also a significant cause of girls dropping out of school.
- Poor quality of education: Inadequate resources, untrained teachers, and outdated teaching methods can lead to a lack of interest among students and high dropout rates.
- Health-related issues: Poor health, lack of access to healthcare facilities, and frequent illnesses can cause students to miss school, leading to a higher likelihood of dropping out.
- Distance to school: Many children live in rural areas and have to travel long distances to reach school, which can be a significant barrier to regular attendance.
- Lack of parental involvement: In a few cases, parents might not be aware of the importance of education, or they may not be involved enough in their children’s education, leading to a lack of motivation among students.
How does India tackle these issues? What is there in Samagra Sihiksha?
The Indian government has implemented various initiatives to tackle the issue of high dropout rates. One of these initiatives is the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2018 by the Government to improve the quality of education in India from pre-school to senior secondary levels.
Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan aims to provide support to states and union territories for the implementation of various initiatives and interventions, including:
- Strengthening of school infrastructure
- Provision of inclusive education
- Training and capacity building of teachers
- Remedial teaching for academically weaker students
- Providing computer-aided learning
- Vocational education and skill development
- Strengthening of school management committees
- Conducting regular academic monitoring and evaluation
These initiatives aim to reduce the dropout rates in India by improving the quality of education and ensuring that all children have access to education.
Apart from Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, the Indian government has also launched other initiatives such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, and Skill India Mission, which are aimed at improving education and reducing dropout rates.
Furthermore, NGOs and civil society organizations are also working towards improving education in India and reducing dropout rates. Some of these organizations are Pratham, Teach For India, Akshaya Patra Foundation, and Bharti Foundation.
Overall, the government and civil society organizations are working towards improving education in India and reducing dropout rates. However, still a long way to go to ensure that all children in India have access to quality education and complete their education.
Reasons for dropout
According to various reports and studies, some reasons for dropout out of school in India include poverty, lack of access to quality education, inadequate school infrastructure and resources, social and cultural norms, child labor, early marriage, and gender inequality.
The government and other stakeholders need to address these issues through various initiatives such as providing financial assistance and incentives for families to keep their children in school, improving the quality of education, building more schools and infrastructure, and promoting gender equality and awareness about the importance of education.
Initiatives such as Samagra Shiksha and the Right to Education Act have been implemented to tackle these issues and improve access to education for all children in India.
Differentiate dropout rate with transition and retention rate?
Dropout, transition, and retention rates are terms commonly used in education and statistics to describe student outcomes.
The dropout rate refers to the percentage of students who leave a school or educational program before completing which may be because of various reasons, such as academic difficulties, personal or family reasons, financial problems, or lack of interest.
Transition rate, on the other hand, refers to the percentage of students moving from one level of education to the next. For example, elementary school to middle school, high school to college, or undergraduate to graduate programs.
Retention rate refers to percentage of students who remain in a school or program over a given period which is often used to measure the effectiveness of educational programs and the ability of institutions to retain students.
In summary, the dropout rate measures the number of students who leave a program without completing it, the transition rate measures the number of students who move from one level of education to the next, and the retention rate measures the number of students who remain in a program over a given period.
Which is most important to attain universalization of school education in India?
To attain the universalization of school education in India, all three factors – dropout, transition, and retention rates – are equally important.
Firstly, reducing the dropout rate is essential to ensure students complete their education. Issues such as access to quality education, poverty, and social inequalities are requuuired to be initited to reduce the dropout rate.
Secondly, improving the transition rate is essential to ensure that students move to the next level of education. This requires providing students with access to various educational options, such as vocational education and training, and ensuring they have the necessary skills to succeed.
Finally, improving the retention rate ensures students remain in school and complete their education. This requires addressing issues such as inadequate infrastructure, lack of resources, and teacher shortages.
In conclusion, to attain universalization of school education in India, efforts must be made to reduce the dropout rate, improve the transition rate, and increase the retention rate.
What efforts are being made in India to improve these rates?
India has made significant efforts to improve school education and achieve universalization of education. Following are the recently initiatied by the government of India:
- The Right to Education (RTE) Act makes education a fundamental right for children between ages of 6 to 14 years. It mandates free and compulsory education for all children and provides for infrastructure development, teacher training, and other initiatives to improve the quality of education.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): This program was launched in 2001 to provide universal access to primary education. It focuses on improving school access, enrollment, and retention by providing infrastructure, teacher training, and other support.
- Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA): This program aims to provide universal access to secondary education. It focuses on improving infrastructure, teacher training, and quality of education in secondary schools.
- Mid-Day Meal Scheme: This program provides free meals to children in government schools to improve enrollment, retention, and attendance.
- Digital India: This initiative aims to provide digital infrastructure and tools to improve the quality of education and increase access to education for all.
These initiatives have significantly improved school education in India, with increased enrollment and retention rates. However, India there is still a long way to go to achieve universalization of education, particularly in remote and disadvantaged areas. The government continues to work towards improving the quality of education and increasing access to education for all.
Are these programs effective in improving the efficiency of the school education system?
The various initiatives taken by the government of India, such as the Right to Education Act, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, and Digital India, have been effective in improving the efficiency of the school education system to a certain extent.
For instance, the Right to Education Act has helped increase enrollment rates and reduce the dropout rate in primary education. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan & Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan have focused on improving infrastructure, teacher training, and quality of education, which has led to an improvement in the overall efficiency of the education system. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme has successfully increased attendance and reduced malnutrition among school-going children.
The Digital India initiative has also helped improve education quality by providing access to digital tools and resources, particularly in remote and disadvantaged areas.
Without any doubt, there is still a long way for India to go in achieving the universalization of education and improving the efficiency of the education system in India. Many challenges, such as inadequate infrastructure, teacher shortages, and unequal access to education, need to be addressed. Therefore, continued efforts and sustained investment in the education system are required to achieve the universalization of education and improve the efficiency of the education system in India.