The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report, 2015 points out that India has witnessed significant progress towards meeting the MDGs, with some targets having been met ahead of the 2015 deadline. It says that India has made significant progress in universalizing primary education, and is moderately on track to achieve this Millennium Development Goal. Enrollment and completion rates of girls in primary school have improved and are catching up with those of boys, as are elementary completion rates. It also addresses the issue of large number of children remaining out of school and failing to complete primary education, particularly in the case of girls, children in rural areas and those belonging to minority communities.
The survey commissioned by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through an independent agency in 2014 reported an overall decline in the number of out of school children in the age group of 6 to13 years in the country. While there were 134.59 lakh out of school children in 2006, it decreased to 81.50 lakh in 2009 and the number further reduced to 60.64 lakh children in 2014 in the same age group. The latest figure accounts for 2.97 percent of the total children in the said age group.
Census 2011 showed that about 32 million children aged between 6 to 13 years have never attended any educational institution, even though government estimates of out of school children show substantial lower number. This variance may be due to different criteria for identifying out of school children and the nature of data used for research study.
This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani today in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.