The retention rate in school education in India
Education plays a crucial role in developing an individual and a nation. However, in India, the education system faces several challenges, including the retention rate of school students. The retention rate refers to the percentage of students who attend school year after year. In India, the retention rate in schools is a matter of concern as many students drop out before completing their education.
The current scenario of retention rate in school education in India
See the attached table that provides data on the retention rate by level of education, gender, and state or union territory in India in 2021-22. The retention rate presents the percentage of students who remained enrolled in a particular level of education from the previous year. The data are presented separately for primary (Grades 1-5), elementary (Grades 1-8), secondary (grades 1-10), and higher secondary (Grades 1-12) levels.
The retention rate for boys in the primary level (Grades 1-5) is 94.9 percent, while the retention rate for girls in the same level is 96 percent, and the overall retention rate at this level at the all-India level is 95.4 percent. The same can be seen for the elementary, secondary, and higher secondary levels and all the states and union territories listed in the table.
The data shows that, in general, the retention rates are higher for girls than boys at all levels of education and higher for primary and elementary levels than secondary and higher secondary levels. There is also significant variation in retention rates across states and union territories. Some states show high retention rates (e.g., Andhra Pradesh), while others show low rates (e.g., Arunachal Pradesh).
Looking at the retention rates by level of education and gender, one can see that overall, boys have a lower retention rate than girls at every level of education in India. The total retention rate for primary education (1 to 5) is 95.4 percent, with girls having a higher retention rate than boys at 96 percent and 94.9 percent, respectively. In elementary education (1 to 8), the total retention rate is 81.2 percent, with girls again having a higher retention rate than boys at 82.1 percent and 80.5 percent, respectively.
In secondary education (1 to 10), the total retention rate drops to 64.7 percent, with girls still having a higher retention rate than boys at 64.5 percent and 64.9 percent, respectively. Finally, in higher secondary education (1 to 12), the total retention rate is only 43.6 percent, with girls having a slightly higher retention rate than boys at 44.2 percent and 43.1 percent, respectively.
Efficiency Indicators: Dropout, Tranistion & Retention Rates at all-India level, 2021-22
|Primary to Upper Primary
|Elementary to Secondary
|Secondary to Higher Secondary
|Primary (1 to 5)
|Elementary (1 to 8)
|Secondary (1 to 10)
|Higher Secondary (1 to12)
Source: UDISE+, different years.
There is also significant variation in retention rates across different states and union territories in India. For example, the retention rate in Andhra Pradesh is 100 percent for all levels of education. In Arunachal Pradesh, the retention rate for primary education is only 63.5 percent, with even lower rates at higher levels of education. These disparities reflect some states’ challenges in providing quality education and retaining students in the system.
These retention rates highlight the need for continued efforts to improve education access & quality of education in India, especially for boys likelier to drop out of school.
Here is a breakdown of the states with the highest and lowest retention rates for each level:
- The state with the highest retention rate at the primary level is Mizoram, which is 93.4 percent.
- The state with the lowest retention rate at the primary level is Uttar Pradesh, with a rate of 62.6 percent.
- The state with the highest retention rate at the elementary level is Mizoram, with a rate of 83.6 percent.
- The state with the lowest retention rate at the elementary level is Bihar, with a rate of 48.3 percent.
- The state with the highest retention rate at the secondary level is Kerala, with a rate of 75.7 percent.
- The state with the lowest retention rate at the secondary level is Jharkhand, with a rate of 36.3 percent.
Higher Secondary Level
- The state with the highest retention rate at the higher secondary level is Kerala, with a rate of 52.3 percent.
- The state with the lowest retention rate at the higher secondary level is Bihar, with a rate of 16.9 percent.
Reasons for low retention rate in school education in India
There are several reasons for the low retention rate in school education in India. One of the main reasons is poverty. Many families in India cannot afford to send their children to school, and even if they do, the cost of education becomes a burden, leading to dropouts. Moreover, in rural areas, there is a lack of infrastructure and facilities, making it difficult for children to attend school regularly. Other reasons include poor quality of education, lack of interest, and social barriers like child marriage, early pregnancy, and child labor.
Measures to improve retention rate in school education in India
Several measures need to be taken to improve the retention rate in school education in India. The government must raise the budget allocation for education and focus on improving the quality of education. Infrastructure and facilities must be developed, especially in rural areas, to ensure children can attend school regularly. Moreover, the government needs to address the issue of poverty and provide financial assistance to families who cannot afford education. Awareness campaigns need to be conducted to educate parents and communities about the importance of education, especially for girls. Lastly, efforts must be made to eliminate social barriers preventing children from attending school.
Given the above, one sees that the retention rate in school education in India is a matter of concern. Several reasons contribute to the low retention rate, including poverty, lack of infrastructure and facilities, poor quality of education, lack of interest, and social barriers. However, measures can be taken to improve the situation, such as increasing the educational budget, improving infrastructure and facilities, addressing poverty, conducting awareness campaigns, and eliminating social barriers. By improving the retention rate in schools, it can be ensured that every child has access to education and can fulfill their potential.
What are the implications of a low retention rate on universal school education in India?
The low retention rate in India’s universal school education system has significant implications for the country’s future. Here are some of the implications:
- Limited Access to Education: Low retention rates mean many children drop out of school, limiting their access to education. This creates a gap in the knowledge and skills of the population, which can lead to a lack of trained professionals in various fields, thus hindering the country’s overall development.
- Poor Literacy Rate: The low retention rate directly impacts the literacy rate in the country. This means that many people in the country cannot read and write, an essential requirement for any society’s development.
- Increased Poverty: Low retention rates and poor literacy levels directly impact the country’s poverty rate. A lack of education limits employment opportunities and earning potential, leading to poverty and economic instability.
- Gender Disparities: Girls are likelier to drop out of school due to social and cultural norms. This creates gender disparities in education and affects the country’s overall progress toward gender equality.
- Social and Economic Inequalities: Low retention rates and poor literacy levels create social and economic inequalities in the country. The disadvantaged sections of society are more likely to be excluded from the education system, which creates a vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion.
To address these implications, the government and other stakeholders need to work towards increasing the retention rate and improving the country’s education quality. This will require investment in infrastructure, trained teachers, and policies that ensure equal access to education for all.
What is to be done to achieve the goal of education for all in India?
Achieving the goal of education for all in India requires a comprehensive approach involving multiple stakeholders, including the government, civil society, educators, parents, and students. Here are some steps that may be initiated:
- Increase investment in education: The government needs to increase its investment in education to improve infrastructure, enhance teacher training, and provide necessary school resources.
- Improve teacher training: Teachers are the backbone of the education system, and they are provided meaningful and regular training to enhance their pedagogical skills and subject knowledge.
- Expand access to education: There is a need to expand access to education in rural and remote areas and among marginalized communities. This can be achieved by building more schools, providing transportation facilities, and incentivizing families to send their children to school.
- Focus on quality education: It is not enough to increase access to education; the quality of education also needs to be improved. This can be done by creating a standardized curriculum, developing effective teaching materials, and conducting regular assessments.
- Increase community involvement: The involvement of parents, community leaders, and other stakeholders is crucial to the education system’s success. By engaging with the community and promoting a learning culture, we can create a more conducive educational environment.
- Promote vocational education: Not all students are interested in pursuing academic careers. Therefore, it is essential to promote vocational education to provide students with skills that enable them to earn a livelihood & contribute to the economy.
Overall, achieving the goal of education for all in India will require sustained efforts and a long-term commitment from all stakeholders.
How does the transition rate affect the retention rate?
The transition rate can have an effect on the retention rate in education. The transition rate refers to how students progress over time. For example, the transition rate from primary to secondary education is the percentage of students who successfully transition from primary to secondary school.
If the transition rate is low, it may result in a lower retention rate because fewer students are progressing to the next level of education. For example, suppose the transition rate from primary to secondary education is low. In that case, fewer students are continuing their education beyond the primary level, which could lead to a lower retention rate in secondary education.
On the other hand, if the transition rate is high, it may lead to a higher retention rate because more students are progressing to the next level of education. For example, suppose the transition rate from primary to secondary education is high. In that case, more students are continuing their education beyond the primary level, which could lead to a higher retention rate in secondary education.
In conclusion, the transition rate is crucial in determining the retention rate in education. A high transition rate can lead to a higher retention rate, while a low transition rate can lead to a lower retention rate. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure that the transition rate is high at all levels of education to achieve higher retention rates.
What role do transition and retention play if India wants to attain a GER of 50 percent by 2035?
If India wants to attain a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50 percent by 2035, the transition and retention rates will play critical roles.
The transition rate refers to the percentage of students who move from one level of education to the next, from primary to secondary or from secondary to higher education. To achieve a GER of 50 percent, it is necessary to ensure a smooth transition of students from one level of school education to the next level and increase the number of students entering the education system.
Retention rate, however, refers to the percentage of students who remain enrolled and complete their education. Low retention rates can result in high dropout rates, undermining efforts to achieve the goal of education for all. Therefore, improving retention rates, particularly at the primary level, is essential to ensure students complete their education.
To achieve a GER of 50 percent by 2035, it will be necessary to focus on transition and retention rates. This will involve improving the quality of education, ensuring that schools have adequate resources and qualified teachers, addressing socio-economic barriers preventing children from attending school, and providing support to students at risk of dropping out. Additionally, efforts must be made to increase awareness of education’s importance and encourage families to prioritize their children’s education.
What role do transition and retention play if India wants to attain a GER of 50 percent at the higher education level by 2035?
Transition and retention will play a critical role in achieving a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 50 percent at the higher education level in India by 2035.
The transition rate is the percentage of students moving from one level of education to the next. In contrast, the retention rate is the percentage of students who remain enrolled in a particular level of education. In order to achieve the target of 50 percent GER, both transition and retention rates need to be improved.
Improved transition rates from secondary to higher secondary and from higher secondary to higher education will help improve the number of students entering higher education, thus increasing the GER.
On the other hand, higher retention rates at the higher education level will ensure that more enrolled students complete their degree programs, leading to an overall increase in the number of graduates and an improvement in the workforce quality.
To achieve the goal of 50 percent GER at the higher education level, policies and programs that focus on improving transition and retention rates must be implemented. This can be done by providing incentives and support to students who face financial, social, or academic challenges in continuing their education. Additionally, investments in infrastructure, technology, and faculty development can help create an environment that supports learning and academic success.
With the present rates, is it possible to attain a ger of 50 percent at a higher education level?
Based on the current transition and retention rates, it may be challenging for India to attain a GER of 50 percent at the higher education level by 2035. However, with concerted efforts and policy interventions aimed at improving the quality of education, reducing dropout rates, increasing retention rates, and expanding access to higher education, it is still possible to achieve this goal.
The government can consider measures such as increasing investment in education, providing scholarships and financial aid to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning, promoting vocational education and training, and encouraging private sector participation in higher education. Additionally, efforts should be made to address social and cultural barriers that prevent girls and women from pursuing higher education.