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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Urdu schools lose charm

The Milli Gazette Online

Hyderabad, March 6: Strange as it may sound, for every 351 students enrolled in Urdu medium schools in the State, 305 drop out before they reach Class X. Plagued with falling standards and shortage of teaching staff, Urdu medium schools in the State have become notorious for frequent student dropouts. Of the 77,000 students who enrol in Urdu medium schools every year, only 10,000 stay till they enter Class X.

A whopping 67,000 students leave school for work as child labour every year. This, in simple words, means 305 students drop out of Urdu schools every day of the 220-day academic year. While boys end up as child labourers, girls work as domestic help. Some take admissions in Arabic madarasas as education there comes free with lodge. 

There are about 3,000 primary and upper primary Urdu medium schools under the control of the State government. The student retention rate in these schools is appallingly low as compared with that of Telugu medium or English medium schools. While the State government blames the community elders for the failure of Urdu medium schools, educationists hold poor amenities, including the lack of adequate number of teachers, as the main reason behind the high dropout rate.

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