Congress asks government to check school drop-out rate

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Shillong, Apr 22 (UNI) The Opposition Congress in Meghalaya Assembly today asked the government to formulate an education policy to check the high rate of school drop-outs in the state.

The government must initiates steps to tackle the high drop-out rates of school students in the state, the Congress MLAs said, while participating on a discussion on the style of functioning of Education Department with special reference to elementary and mass education, in the House.

In 2007, Meghalaya registered an overall 72.40 per cent school drop-out rate against the 2003 census, when the drop-out rate at primary school level was 22.24 per cent and 7.89 per cent at upper primary level.

The gender-wise drop-out rate from Class I to X was 73.11 per cent among boys and 71.67 per cent among girls.

Urging the government to formulate an Education Policy, the opposition Congress legislators asked the government to employ quality teachers and contain the school fees to prevent students from doing away with their education.

''Most of them have stopped attending schools mainly due to high cost of school fees and text books,'' Congress MLA P W Khongjee told the House, adding that the other reasons for the school drop-out was poor policies to guide the education department.

However, the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance admitted to the fact and said the Education Department has been trying its best to tackle the problem.

Parliamentary Secretary in-charge Elementary and Mass Education Ampareen Lyngdoh said the appointment of under qualified teachers by the District Councils in the Lower Primary School was the main reason behind the high rate of school drop-out rate.

She further added that the government has decided to improve the system of teaching and to maximize enrolment, retention and acquisition of optimum levels of learning.

Ms Lyngdoh said the government has entrusted the North Eastern Hills University (NEHU) to find out reasons behind the rising drop-out rate in the state.

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