Childhood poverty in Andhra

Report says primary school enrolment has gone up but drop outs still a problem


Jasleen Kaur | January 11, 2012

Despite falling poverty and considerable growth, a third of children are stunted and despite higher enrolment, dropout and school quality remains critical.

A report ‘Impact of growth on childhood poverty in Andhra Pradesh’ shows that programmes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have played an important role in increasing primary school enrolment to 98% of eight-year-olds but drop out remains. By the age of 15, only 75% children are left in schools.

Findings show that there has been a shift to private education sector. In 2002, only 23% of these children were attending private schools and the number increased to 44% in 2009. But the number of girls going to private schools is much less than boys.

Young lives is an international study on childhood poverty focusing Andhra Pradesh in India and three other countries – Ethiopia, Peru and Veitnam. It is following same set of 12000 children since 2002. This is the third round of the study.

The study shows that the real per capita consumption has increased to 16% in three years. And there has been a decline in absolute poverty from 24% in 2006 to 16% in 2009.

Households now have better access to water and improved sanitation. Although nearly all households reported access to safe drinking water, only a third of households had access to improved sanitation. Nine in 10 households in urban areas have access to improved sanitation but less than one in five children in rural areas live in households which have better sanitation.

The survey showed that the enrollment in primary schools has increased to 98%. The social protection schemes had positive impact on children. But 13 percent of these children leave schools between the age of 12 and 15. It also shows that boys than girls are being sent to private schools.
“This shows that parents are willing to spend money on child’s education. But they are losing faith in government-run schools,” says Renu Singh, country director, Young Lives India.

The drop out rate for children from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was almost double the rate of drop out from other castes. The number of girls who dropped out is more than the boys due to the lack of basic amenities like toilets in schools.

The report also studied the health and nutrition among children in this region. It said that almost 29% of children were stunted (low height for age) at the age of eight. Although that has fallen from 33% at age of five years.

The report presented the initial findings from third round of data collection by Young Lives in Andhra Pradesh, carried out from late 2009 to early 2010.




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