Children in the age group of 15 to 18 find it difficult to re-enrol into school

Thirteen-year-old Afroze of Yeshwanthpur dropped out of school when he was eight and finds it difficult to leave his job and get back to school. Nevertheless, with some counselling and parental support, he can probably get back to school as he is less than 14.

However, a survey conducted in July by Child Rights and You (CRY) reveals that children in the age group of 15 to 18 find it difficult to re-enrol into school. On Children’s Day, The Hindu highlights the difficulty of re-enrolling school dropouts above 15 years.

The survey revealed that as many as 152 students were identified as school dropouts in Koramangala, Yeshwanthpur, Jeevanbima Nagar and Madiwala.

A key finding of the survey was that a large number of children dropped out when they were in primary school and now they are in the age group of 15 to 18. For instance, in Yeshwanthpur area alone, 18 of the 27 children who had dropped out are in the age group of 15 to 18.

Since the provisions of the Right to Education Act (RTE) apply to those aged up to 14 years, these dropouts cannot be readmitted to the schools under RTE as they are now crossed the age limit under the provisions of this law.

Thangamma, senior manager of CRY, said: “Volunteers who tried re-enrolling the students in schools found out that re-enrolling was a challenge as these children are excluded from the purview of RTE.”

She added that the absence of the State intervention to get them back into schools makes it difficult for children to re-enrol into schools while emphasising these children should get another opportunity to get back to school. “If not under RTE, the government should come out with some alternative scheme for them,” she added.

Reasons for drop out

While the reasons for dropping out varied from one area to another, the survey pointed out that lack of interest in studies, need to look after siblings and the compulsion to work were some of them Interestingly, corporal punishment was also one of the main reasons that forced students to drop out.

Not disabled-friendly

During the survey, volunteers also found that four children with physical disabilities in Yeshwanthpur and Madiwala had dropped out as the schools did not have the necessary provisions to accommodate children with disabilities.

Majority of the government schools do not cater to the needs of the disabled, she said pointing out that some physically challenged students could do well in regular schools if provided with disabled-friendly facilities.

Other schemes

Responding to the findings, G. Kumar Naik, Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, said that since children are above 14 years they can enrol, as per rules, only under the adult education and mass education programmes.