Universalisation of elementary education through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has not percolated to the marginal social groups (SCs/STs/OBCs and Muslims) and a sizeable section (nearly 40%) of disabled children. Besides, the maximum overall dropout rate (20%) is after the completion of class V.
In an exhaustive survey, based on data collected from 87,874 households and conducted by IMRB and commissioned by HRD ministry, it has been found that nearly 7% of children in the age group of 6-13 are out of school. In real terms, this means that 1.34 crore out of 19.4 crore children in this age category have not been to school. Though among all social groups the estimated percentage of children out of school is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas, Muslims top the list in both the settings at close to 10%. 'Other' category comprising upper castes and the well-heeled has the least number (nearly 4%) of out-of-school children.
Out-of-school Muslim children in rural areas (12%) was highest among all social groups. The estimate of ST children out of school in urban areas (4.21%) was lower than the national average for urban areas (4.34%). In the context of Muslims, the worst performing states/UTs are Bihar (over 28%), Daman and Diu (28%), Nagaland (16%), Uttar Pradesh (14%), West Bengal (11%) and Manipur (10%). The national average of ST children out of school is 9.54% and the states/UTs which have not done well include Manipur (nearly 21.5%), Daman and Diu (20%), West Bengal (16%), and Rajasthan (12%). The findings on out-of-school children among the disabled reveals children with mental disability are the most out of school (47%) followed by speech disabled (42.5%) and hearing disabled (32%). The worse performing states/UTs are Lakshadweep (100%), Nagaland (87%), Sikkim (79%), Manipur (72%), Pondicherry (nearly 57%), Assam (55%), and MP (51%). Dropouts in class V is followed by dropouts at class II (20%) and class III (17.5%). The percentage of dropouts reduce after class VI. The major contributors to the class V dropout are Mizoram, UP, Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.