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Around 91 per cent of 15-year-olds were enrolled in secondary schools in 2016, up from 78 per cent in 2009, a report revealed on Tuesday. The report indicated that the increase in enrolment was particularly significant for girls -- with 90 per cent of 15-year-old girls enrolled in 2016 (compared with 74 per cent in 2009) -- and backward class (BC) students, with and 91 per cent of them enrolled (compared with 76 per cent in 2009). These are the preliminary findings of not-for-profit Young Lives' longitudinal research on social indicators. According to the findings, the number of children attending private schools marginally increased from 35 per cent in 2009 to 37 per cent in 2016. "The private school enrolment in 2016 remains biased towards boys (41 per cent), other castes (62 per cent), and urban children (64 per cent)," the report said.
At the launch event, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said: "We will very closely examine the findings and will take this further to learn the lessons and make policy changes based on this study." While sharing the key findings from longitudinal study, Renu Singh, Country Director of Young Lives India, said that despite significant economic growth, over one quarter of our cohort of 15-year-olds continued to suffer from stunting (28 per cent). "There has been a positive increment in enrolment over time, with 91 per cent of children enrolled in school at the age of 15, compared to 78 per cent of 15-year-olds in 2009 with the biggest increase of enrolment seen among girls and poorest households. "However, learning levels have showed no improvement, and is a matter of concern," she said. Singh further said: "At 22, we find that 61 per cent of the 22-year-olds engaged in both agricultural and non-agricultural work, 56 per cent women married and only 16 per cent were still studying. Gender inequity in access to technology is also an area that needs to be addressed."
Young Lives' work spans 15 years following 3,000 children in India. It follows a life course perspective and covers various stages of development infancy, adolescence and transition into adulthood.
Image source: Shutterstock
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