Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
27-March-2018 17:22 IST
The number of out of school children has declined substantially

Census 2011 has reported that 8.4 crore children do not go to school in the age group of 5 – 17 years. However, under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 the mandated age group for free and compulsory elementary education in a neighbourhood school is 6-14 years. According to Census 2011, the number of children who do not attend schools (including never attended and attended before) in the age group of 6-13 years are 3.81 crore. Census 2011 has shown a marked decline in the number of out of school children in this age group from 5.8 crore in 2001 to 3.8 crore in 2011, a 35% decline over a period of ten years.


As per an independent survey commissioned in 2014 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), 60.64 lakh children were estimated to be out of school in the age group of 6-13 years. The number of out of school children has declined from 134.59 lakh in 2005 to 60.64 lakh in 2014 in the same age group.


The differences in the number and proportion of out-of-school children mainly arise from differences in the definitions used by different data sources, inter-state variations in schooling systems, timing of survey and differences in data collection and estimation processes


The RTE Act covers all children in 6-14 age group, 19.67 crore children were enrolled at elementary level as per Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), 2015-16.


As per an independent survey commissioned in 2014 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), poverty,need to work for supplementing house-hold income etc. were some of the reasons for children not attending the school. In order to address these issues, Universalization of elementary education through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is the designated scheme for supporting implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 is implemented in partnership with states and UTs. Section 4 of the RTE Act, 2009 provides for special training for age appropriate admission of out of school children. Those children who have missed out certain academic years either for having never enrolled to school or having dropped out of school, have a right to Special Training in residential and non residential mode, subsequently to be mainstreamed in formal schools in age appropriate class. SSA has been successful in achieving considerable progress in its goal of universal access and retention with 99.36% habitations having schools at primary and 98.20% habitations having schools at upper primary level. Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, which are residential schools for girls at upper primary level, have also been sanctioned to the States for improving access to marginalised girls particularly out of school, either dropped out or never enrolled.


Under SSA, provisions have also been made for residential schools/hostels and transportation/escort facility for children living in sparsely populated areas, children living in areas where schools cannot be opened due to unavailability of land and children in need of care and protection. Special training is also provided to all such children who are school dropouts and long absentees and they are enrolled in “back to school” camps.


Additionally, other strategies adopted under SSA such as strengthening school infrastructure, improving pupil-teacher ratios, providing incentives like free textbooks, uniforms for eligible category of children and mid-day meal in schools have proved to be useful in increasing the enrolment of children in elementary schools.

This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Shri Upendra Kushwaha today in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.


NB/YP/RK/Out of School