Rural spend on education lowest in Odisha : Report

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    Reported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Sandeep Sahu

    Bhubaneswar, July31: In what is yet another dubious distinction for the state, Odisha ranked lowest among all states in expenditure on education by rural households between 2004-05 and 2009-10 with an average monthly spend of no more than Rs 52, a study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) revealed.

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    Haryana figured at the top of the list with an average household spend of Rs 373 while Gujarat recorded the biggest growth of 126% in household expenditure on education, the study titled ‘Evolution of Indian Rural Markets During 2004-05 to 2009-10′ done by the ASSOCHAM Research Bureau.

    Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are among the states where the rural households on an average spend more on education while monthly household expenditure on education is low in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and Assam.

    “This portrays a wide inter-state variation in household expenditure on education,” said DS Rawat, national secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the report here today.

    Though Punjab ranks second in the big spending states with an average rural household expenditure of Rs 305 a month, it ranks lowest in terms of growth in expenditure during the period of the study.

    The growth in expenditure on education was only marginally better (17-23 percent) in Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha during the same period.

    Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala registered decent growth rates of between 52-93 percent in average monthly expenditure on education among rural households during the five years from 2004-05 to 2009-10.

    “There is no dearth of world class quality higher-education institutions in urban centres but the need of the hour is to improve both primary and higher education scenario in rural sector,” the study said.

    “Although we have made great strides in improving India’s education scenario, much ground still needs to be covered as our education system is still plagued by low enrolment rates, lower attendance and retention rates, high teacher absenteeism, irregular classes, poor teaching standards and other related issues,” Rawat said. “The government needs to shift its focus on increasing enrolment rates and also reducing school drop-outs in rural areas which is also a significant problem,” he said.