Amid rising dropout rate at secondary level, at least 18000 students are not writing the annual matriculation examination in Odisha that began on March 10 raising concern among the school and mass education department officials.
While 14000 students across the state did not appear in the Summative-I exam that was held in November last year, it ballooned to 18000 in Summative-II exam. The students would be assessed on the basis of their performance in summative-I, summative-II and internal assessment exams in 40-40-20 %.
“When a student fills up the form after making payment of the examination fees, he would feel compelled to appear at the examination. Since the government has waived the fees this year, it is obvious that the student would not find it compelling to appear at the examination and may drop out of it,” said school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash. “However, I don’t know the exact number of the dropout students and will make query about it after the examination is over. The department will take up the matter seriously and ascertain the causes responsible for it,” he said.
In 2022 matric exam, more than 44,000 students did not appear, the highest ever for Odisha. In 2021, only 4,412 students missed the exam. Though the number of missing students have come down, officials said the numbers were still concerning. While tribal-dominated Bolangir district reported highest dropout of 1,199 students, coastal Balasore reported 1,158 dropouts followed by Kalahandi at 766, Jajpur(755), Koraput (686), Khurda (494), Cuttack (420), Kendrapada (425) and Jagatsinghpur (235). Similarly, 500 students each from Open School and for Madhyama examination remained absent from the examination. Total 5,41,247 students had filled up the forms to appear at the examination in the state this year.
The news of matric dropout came as secondary school dropout rates rose to 27.2 per cent in 2021-22 compared to 16.06 % in 2020-21. The dropout rates are double of national dropout rate of 12.6 % in 2021-22. Among SCs and STs it was higher. In 2020-21, more than 49,000 students had dropped out of school before entering higher secondary level, including 15,792 tribal and 11,045 students from the Scheduled Caste category.
Last year, the state government had announced upgradation of 100 high schools in 2023-24 academic session to check the high dropout rate in the state.