Girls' enrolment in northeastern schools decreasing

GUWAHATI: Many states in the northeast have witnessed a decrease in the enrolment of girls at the elementary level (Classes I to VIII) under Sarva Sikha Abhiyan (SSA), according to the Union ministry of human resources development.

According to the ministry's selected educational statistics (SES), five of the northeastern states, except Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, recorded a drop in enrolment of girls at the elementary level in 2009-2010.

In Meghalaya, enrolment of girls at the elementary level increased to 3,17,373 in 2009-2010 from 2,98,941 in 2008-2009, while Arunachal Pradesh recorded 1,41,524 enrolments in 2009-2010, up from 1,35,581 in 2008-2009.

In Assam, enrolment of girls has come down to 21,51,920 in 2009-2010 from 24,50,440 in 2008-2009. Similarly, in Mizoram, enrolment of girls has come down to 96,771 in 2009-2010 from 1,11,926 in 2008-2009. Enrolment of girls in Nagaland has also dropped to 1,50,125 in 2009-2010 from 2,00,482 in 2008-2009. In the case of Tripura, the drop in girls' enrolment is 3,24,205 in 2009-2010 from 3,33,395 in 2008-2009. Manipur has recorded slight drop in enrolment of girls to 2,48,984 in 2009-2010 from 2,49,414 in 2008-2009.

Responding to questions raised by MPs Badruddin Ajmal, Varun Gandhi and Ratna De (Nag) in the Lok Sabha, Union minister of state for human resources development D Purandeswari said that though enrolment of girls at the national level has improved to 9,24,17,562 in 2009-2010 from 9,05,35,250 in 2007-2008, some states, including Assam, have reported decline in enrolment of girls in 2009-2010.

In Assam, on the other hand, the number of children out of school in the age group of six-14 years has decreased to 3.56 per cent in 2009 from 7.27 per cent in 2007. In 2007, there were 3,95,161 children out of schools, while it has come down to 1,99,187 in 2009.

SSA officials in Assam said that efforts are on to maximize the enrolment of girls at the elementary level.