West Bengal is the only major state in the country where girl students have outnumbered boys. A recent survey released by the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) shows that only three other states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya have enrolled more girl students than boys.
State-wise data released by the UDISE+ shows that of the 18,74,87,792 students enrolled from pre-primary to class XII in the academic session of 2019-20, there are 2,32,012 more girl students than boys. When the number of girl students is 94,89,902, the number of boy students is 92,57,890.
"For the last five years it has been the continuous effort of the state government to promote and empower girls. The Kanyashree project has been massively successful. Most states in the country including the Central government have similar projects to educate and empower girls but West Bengal's success lies in the implementing mechanism. When the other states tried to reach the grassroot level through Panchayats, West Bengal is the only state where Kanyashree has been implemented through administrative mechanism," a senior official from the state Women and Child Welfare Department said.
"As a result, the girl students have received their token of benefits through schools, Block Development Offices and SDOs which has compelled the parents to enroll their girl child in schools. This social and administrative compulsion have allowed the girl students a better access to schools and education," the official added. A closer look into data will show us the number of dropouts in case of boys are higher than the girls.
The state has not only fared better in respect to the national average but the girl students have outshone the boy students. When in the secondary level the dropout rate is as high as 16.1 per cent in West Bengal, the dropout rate is 13.8. Interestingly enough when 14.1 per cent boys have dropped out, the girl students dropout rate is only 13.6 per cent.
Surprisingly enough in the upper primary section that is between the class V to Class VII, the dropout rate in the state is nil when the national dropout rate is as high as 2.6 per cent. Equally in the primary section that is between Class I to Class IV, the national dropout rate is 1.5 per cent whereas in West Bengal the dropout rate is meagre 0.6 per cent with the boy students dropping out by 0.9 per cent and the girl students opting out by 0.3 per cent.
The survey also shows that the state has been successful in bringing the minority community under the purview of its education system. In 2019-20, an overall 30.9 per cent minority students enrolled themselves in different state education facilities of which 32.4 per cent are girls and the 29.4 per cent are boys.
This is far better than the national average where only 17.6 per cent have enrolled themselves with 18.1 per cent are girls and 17.1 per cent are boys. So far as Muslim education is concerned, the state shares a better average than the national average. According to the data, 30.5 per cent students have enrolled themselves between pre-primary to higher secondary where 32 per cent are girls and another 28.9 per cent are boys.
This is far better than the national average where only 13.9 per cent Muslim students have enrolled themselves. with 14.4 per cent being girls and 13.4 per cent are boys.