Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From Erode to Andhra Pradesh - Education and Government Schools

Right on the heels of the heartening news of the Erode Collector Anandhakumar joining his daughter in a  government school and improving the general infrastructure of the school, there comes this news. That Andhra Pradesh, which has recently started an 'enrolment drive' for children in schools is competing with Jharkhand for the lowest rung in the literacy ladder in the country! Andhra stand last in South India of course.

The dropout rate, from 1st to 10th, in AP is an appalling 46.21 percent. It is 72.66 percent in case of STs and 49.68 percent in case of SCs - primarily due to poverty. In government schools the dropout rate is 45 percent by Class V, 56 percent by Class VIII and 63 percent by Class X. No prizes for guessing why. The pathetic condition of schools. The other day we saw a photo in the newspapers of sacks of grain occupying school rooms which may force late start of school or will make children sit in the hot sun outside.

Students in government schools in AP apparently constitute 88 lakh of a total of 1.49 crore and the conditions of schools is such that most schools suffer from lack of toilets, drinking water, power supply, benches, tables, black boards and chalk pieces. Most schools are run in one room, two room and four rooms. 50,000 government primary, upper primary and high schools have no toilets for 40 lakh girl students! To improve the infrastructure of schools the government spends Rs. 1000 crore on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme.
 (Source: The Deccan Chronicle, June 22, 2011)

The figures are alarming. Are we looking at being a global power like this? Is this how Andhra Pradesh is going to contribute in shaping the youth of tomorrow? But obviously the resources are there. All we now need is some will to make a difference. All we need are a few more Anandhakumars and we can see a change in the statistics!

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