Check school drop-out rate: Gurcharan Das

Monday, November 22, 2010

NEW DELHI - Author Gurcharan Das Monday said that the high drop-out rate in government schools needed to be addressed on a priority.

“Our record in primary education is dismal. The drop-out rate in government schools is very high at 90-94 percent,” he said at Indira Gandhi National Open University’s 12th and final silver jubilee lecture on “Prosperity will spread but happiness will not, until we fix governance”.

He said in urban areas 54 percent and in rural areas only 24 percent students attend private schools.

Das also suggested to the government to issue “education vouchers” to children for studying in schools. “This will also force the government school teachers to perform, as their salaries will come from the fees paid by students,” he said.

Talking about the future, Das said: “India’s economic future looks good. It is the second fastest growing economy in the world. The population rate is slowing down and the current rate of growth is 8 percent, as compared to China’s 10 percent.”

“The bad news for us is in governance. Economic growth after a certain stage will need governance to spur it on. We shall stop growing at this point, unless we improve governance,” Das added.

India should focus on economic growth because if it stops growing, the worst to be hit would be the poor, he said.

The answer to inclusive growth in India was not to change the economic growth model but to radically reform the delivery of primary education and health, Das said.

“The problem is not of resources but of accountability of teachers, doctors and nurses and all civil servants. If India can fix its governance before China fixes its politics, it may well win the race. India has liberty but bad governance, China has just the opposite. We need both for happiness,” Das said.

Filed under: Education

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