Arun C. Mehta
Despite spectacular quantitative expansion of educational facilities in the country, the desired level of achievement with respect to coverage, retention, attainment etc. could not be achieved mainly due to low level of efficiency on which our education system is currently based upon. Though a number of common indicators of efficiency such as drop-out rate, retention rate, transition rate are computed widely both at the state and all-India level, still a number of other indicators considered to present more reliable picture of internal efficiency of education system, such as, input/out-put ratio, input per graduate, average duration of study on account of graduate and drop-outs, proportion of total wastage spent on account of drop-outs and repeaters, and cohort survival rates are generally not computed largely due to their lengthy computational procedure. Therefore, an attempt has been made in the present article to compute all these indicators both at the all-India and state level.
Different researchers identified a number of variables which causes inefficiency in the education system but establishment of relationship as such among indicators of efficiency and its correlates is hardly available. Therefore, an attempt has also been made in the present article to prepare a detailed list of variables that may influence internal efficiency. Employing statistical techniques for which cross-state data would be used identifies variables having significant impact on efficiency.
Of hundred children who had taken admission in Grade-I in 1979-80, only 52 could reach to the Grade-V in year 1983-84 and 37 reached to Grade-VIII in year 1986-87 which show that about 48 and 63 per cent children dropped-out before they reach to Grade- VI and Grade-IX respectively. Both at Primary and Upper-primary levels of education, the incidence of wastage on part of girls is higher than boys and move from one grade to another grade increases the incidence of drop-out A large number of children drop-out from the education system only because of repetitive failures.
Keeping in view the higher rate of drop-out in Grade- I, specially that of girls, more incentive may have to be provided not only to retain them in the system but also to bring them under the umbrella of education, in addition to what has already been provided. Except for Grade-II, an increasing trend in repetition rate has been noticed with each successive grade which means that a decline in percentage of fresher and promotes. Disparity between girls and boys tend to repeat is more or less same in almost all the grades. The repetition rate varies from 3.0 per cent in Grade-II to 5.2 per cent in Grade-VIII.
The statistics on causes of dropouts reveal that majority of children dropped-out from the education system due to economic activities at households and other economic reasons. It has also been revealed that in year 1986-87, more than 1.49 million boys and about 1.00 million girls (31.66%) left the education system because they were not interested in education itself and further studies. Approximately every second child left the system on this account. Of those 272.43 million person not enrolled in any schools, 27.92 million (10.25%) did not attend schools because schooling facilities were not available to them, 80.26 million did not join because of their not been interested in education itself. Repetitive failures also kept people out of the education system. The proportion of repeaters varies widely amongst various states and is least in states where no examinations are held in lower elementary schools or where ungraded system of education is being followed with no examination in intermediary years. The states where the repetition rate in Grade-I is high suggested as a possible explanation of part of the increased enrolment that is also reflected in the apparent entry rate.
In Kerala and Karnataka, the repetition rate in Grade-I was only 2.0 per cent. In Kerala, with each successive grade, more children tend to repeat which is as high as 13.6 per cent in Grade-V and 14.5 per cent in Grade-VIII. In transition, 17 per cent children dropped-out from the education system as compared to 22 per cent girls. For both for boys and girls, a declining trend has been observed in wastage ratio and in number of years the system took to produce a Primary graduate which is considered to be a healthy sign, however it is still on very high side. Unless this is checked, the efficiency of the system would be at low ebb. This could not be possible by one single method or once for all action but it should involve the whole educational system. Further, it has been revealed that the amount of wastage on account of input per graduate is higher in such states where repetition rate is also high. Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala are spending just a little more than ideally required.
Of the total wastage at the Primary level, repeaters share was only 16.59 per cent compared to 83.41 per cent drop-outs, relative figures for girls are 14.50 per cent and 85.50 per cent which show that girls tend to repeat less than their counterpart but preferred to drop-out from the system. The wastage ratios computed at the Upper-primary level reveal that over a period of times a declining. trend has been noticed, however the decline is not sharp as compared to Primary level. This could attribute to increased awareness of the value of the education among the population as well as improvement in the facilities for providing Primary education to children. Schools having unusable or no blackboard, number of working days in schools, single teacher/no teacher school, drop-out rate in Class-I, survival rate up to Class -V, repetition rate in Class-I , apparent entry rate in Class-I and enrolment of girls in Primary classes are found significant and they explained 97 per cent variation in Input/Out-put ratio.
Thus, if the scheme of operation blackboard is implemented in all the schools, working days in schools are increased, more girls are enrolled, drop-out rate in class-I is checked and more children are retained and survive up to Class V, efficiency of the education system is bound to improve to a significant effect. Separate models for variables included in the retained equation may be developed as the same will insight a number of other variables which affect efficiency in addition to those already identified and similar studies may be undertaken for other cohorts also.