Primary school dropouts in rural Bihar reduced

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Patna, Jan 17: The number of primary school drop outs in Bihar reduced substantially last year despite lack of proper infrastructural facilities in rural schools, India's Annual Status of Education Report(ASER)for 2007 has revealed.

The ASER report,released yesterday by Planning Commission Vice- Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi,has given special emphasis on Bihar and pointed out that Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh had performed equally well in the field of primary education.

Presenting the case of Bihar, ASER Project Director in charge of the state,Rajesh Bhushan,said contrary to common perception, Bihar had made tremendous progress in universalisation of primary education by fully implementing the government-sponsored ''Sarv-Shiksha Abhiyan'' in all primary schools.

Referring to four special schemes--Mukhyamantari Samagra Vidyalaya Vikas Yojna,Mukhyamantari Balika Poshak Yojna,Mukhyamantari Balika Cycle Yojna and Mukhyamantari Samagra Shiksha Yojna--Mr Bhushan said contributions of all these schemes had gone a long way in encouraging primary school children in studying and improving the rate of their regular presence in government primary schools.

Claiming 'substantial reduction' in the number of school drop outs, particularly in rural Bihar last year, the ASER also reported healthy increase in the number of children who were taking fresh admission in schools for the first time.

The report said,the percentage of primary school drop outs in rural Bihar in 6-14 age group had come down by half to 6.5 in just one year from 12.8 recorded in 2006. Similarly fresh enrollment in government primary schools during last year had goner up to 84.1 per cent from 72.2 per cent in the previous year, the report said.

The survey has also provided the first-ever estimate of English learning abilities among primary school students in rural Bihar.

Over 28 per cent students could read a full English sentence and almost 31 per cent knew their meaning.

While primary school students in Himachal Pradesh and Kerala had the best ability of reading and writing of English with 59 per cent each, they were closely followed by the wards in Bihar and Haryana whose similar ability was recorded at 47.9 and 41.2 per cent respectively,the report said.

UNI

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