Himachal Pradesh has been able to reduce the dropout rate at the primary school level to less than 1 per cent and the state has achieved 99.9 per cent enrollment in 6-14 years age group, which is the highest in the country.

There has also been a significant improvement in the arithmetic learning levels of students of government schools in Himachal Pradesh as per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), said Himachal Governor Acharya Devvrat in his address at the opening of the budget session of the state assembly on Wednesday.

The budget session will continue till April 7 with a break from March 18 to 26, in between.

Devvrat said 99.79 per cent schools in HP have separate toilets for girls, 99.88 per cent schools have drinking water facilities and 96 per cent schools have electricity connections and 98 per cent have a library.

He said 10,950 Children with Special Needs (CWSN) are admitted in the formal schools to provide them inclusive education.

In addition, 1,822 children with severe and profound special need are being given education with the help of special educators, for which 23 NGOs are getting support.

In a one-hour address, Devvrat enlisted the achievements of the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh over the last four years in education as the top priority.

He said the number of educational institutions to provide quality education have seen a quantum jump in the state to focus on accessibility and equity. It is because of the persistent efforts of the state government that the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla has been accredited with ‘A’ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

Besides upgrading 154 middle schools, 109 high schools and schools and opening 17 new degree colleges in the rural areas, the government is spending Rs 40 Crore on the construction of new college buildings, he added.

Devvrat said the state government was putting efforts to improve the child sex ratio in the state and has since registered 270 ultrasound clinics to enforce the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC&PNDT) Act.

“The hill state has shown better health indicators. While the birth rate in HP has reduced to 16.4 in comparison to 21 at the national level, the infant moratlity rate has reduced to 28 against 42 at the national level. The total fertility rate in Himacha is 1.7 as compared t0 2.3 at the national level,” he said.

The Governor said the Institutional Deliveries have increased to 85 per cent in the state. He referred that the state government launched a special campaign for cannabis eradication in August-September 2016 and uprooted cannabis plants from 2,145.75 hectare of land.

Devvrat said to dissuade young people from tobacco use, especially by students, the sale of loose cigarettes and bidis has been banned in the state.

Photo Caption: Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Acharya Devvrat with Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh and leader of opposition and former BJP Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal today, on the first day of budget session of Himachal Pradesh assembly. picture by Lalit Kumar