Chennai, Apr 26: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the Centre would like to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of the country from 11.6 per cent to 15 per cent by 2012. During his address at the annual convocation of Women Christian College (WCC) here, Mr Chidambaram said ''the GER in developed countries is 54 per cent. The world average is 23.2 per cent.
In India, currently it is 11.6 per cent. Our immediate goal is to raise the GER to 15 per cent by the end of Eleventh Five-year Plan (2012) and then to 21 per cent by 2017''. ''Colleges and Universities across the country turn out every year hundreds of thousands of graduates and post-graduates but, in fact, the number is woefully short of the requirements of a fast growing economy'', he pointed out. The minister said the Central Government had provided funds to the State to support their efforts in the education sector.
Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) scheme, 8.92 lakh class-rooms were built and 9.81 lakh teachers appointed'', he said, adding in 2008-2009, two-lakh teachers were expected to be appointed and and an additional two-lakh class rooms would be set-up.
Mr Chidambaram said about 7.6 million children, were not going to school. In Uttar Pradesh alone, 7,50,000 children between the age of group of five and six were not enrolled, he added.
He said once the children miss the opportunity to go to school, it is unlikely that they will ever be enrolled in any school.
He said about 25 per cent of children drop-out after class-five, though the drop-out ratio for girls was lower at 21.5 per cent. And as they move up, the rate of attrition increases, and by class ten the drop out ratio would reach an alarming 61 per cent, he added.
Mr Chidambaram said the challenge at the upper primary stage of education was to return the child in school and provide incentives to the child to complete minimum ten years of school education.