July 24, 2014 1:28:19 am
While nearly 50 per cent children in M-East ward do not attend pre-schools, 30 per cent students in the 15-18 age bracket have dropped out of school, said a draft report issued by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). The institute has initiated a project to ‘transform’ the ward. Of all the children between three to five years in the survey, 54 per cent attend pre-primary schools. Though 83 per cent in the 5-17 age group attends school, the enrollment rate in higher education for the 18-23 age group is a meagre 23 per cent.
M-East ward has the lowest human development index in Mumbai at 0.2 and the areas include Vashi Naka, Baiganwadi, Govandi, Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd and Trombay Cheeta Camp. TISS is located in the ward at Govandi.
“Enrollment to primary education is not much of a concern and 92 per cent in the six-10 age group were found to be in schools, lower than the national average of 96.5 per cent. The highest borrowing and spending of savings of the household is on education related expenses, indicating the importance education enjoys in these impoverished communities. It is distressing that the education system fails the aspirations of the parents and students,” the draft said.
Across religions too, the trends are similar. Muslims, however, show a lower enrollment compared to other religious groups in higher education, with the difference being one per cent lower as against the average of all areas studied in the 6-14 year age group, but six per cent lower than the average of all areas studied in the 15-18 year age bracket.
A total of 1,12,347 homes were enumerated and 20,526 households were surveyed across 67 slums. For the whole sample studied in the ward, a median year of schooling is eight; it is nine for males and seven for females.
Stating that a substantial number of students dropped out of school midway in class VII, the report reveals the inability to spend on education and disinterest in education as primary reasons. Significantly, the report stated that on completion of class VII, when students had to move to a private school, they preferred dropping out than “risk ridicule” in the private school for not having attained the required learning level. Many spoke of harsh punishments meted out to them by their teachers and principals as a deterrent to attending school.
A reason behind the sharp dropout level was the near absence of government high schools in the areas coupled with an inability to pay the costs for private education. According to estimates, M-East has 70 government primary schools and three secondary schools.
While 38.53 per cent cited not interested in academics in the 5-17 age group, the figure stood at 40.12 per cent for 18-23 age bracket. About 18.62 per cent in the 5-17 age group and 19.28 per cent in the 18-23 age group gave financial constraints as a reason. The other major reasons included helping out in household chores (10.93 per cent in 5-17 age group and 17.91 per cent in 18-23) and pressure to earn (5.48 per cent in 5-17 and 14.21 in 18-23 age group).
“Financial constraints lead to more girls dropping out than boys, which is also the case with housework. The lack of school facility in the neighbourhood too affects more girls than boys. More boys drop out of school on account of disinterest in academics than girls. Across schools, teachers feels that girls are more dedicated towards their educational attainment,” the draft further read.
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