NGOs blame meagre daily allowance for poor participation
While the Education Department is gearing up for the field survey of the out of school children (OOSC) that will begin next week, officials say they are facing a shortage of manpower to carry out the survey as officials from other departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are not extending co-operation.
The department has already completed the school survey last week where the records of students were checked in all schools (private, aided and government schools) to check the number of dropouts. Using this data, the survey team will conduct a house to house visit to check for dropouts in 2,822 vulnerable clusters across the State. Vulnerable clusters include all urban areas and rural clusters where the dropout rate is more than 50 as per the District Information System for Education (DISE) report.
Meanwhile, out of the 4,062 education clusters in the State, 1,240 are general and non-vulnerable clusters where the survey will be carried out only on the basis of school visits.
Talking about the hurdles involved in the survey, an official working in one of the Block Educational Officers office in Bangalore said there was a requirement of 3,802 people for the survey in that block. However, currently they have been able to mobilise only around 2,600 people. “The shortage of manpower is huge and we require people from other departments. We have close to 2,000 teachers in government and aided schools, but we have deputed only fifty percent, as some teachers need to be there to run the schools.”
Each team in the vulnerable cluster will consist of four people including two officials from the Education Department, one from another department and one representative from an NGO, who are expected to visit 300 houses per day. “Over the last week we have completed the school survey by ourselves. But for house visits, we will need assistance as only two of us cannot cover 300 houses every day,” said a teacher who is a part of the survey team.
Meanwhile, NGOs are stating that they are not able to mobilise volunteers as only Rs. 50 is provided as daily allowance. Vani Kantli, State Project Coordinator of Bachpan Bachao Andolan said, “Rs. 50 is not even enough for transportation costs, leave alone food and other expenses. While some of us working in NGOs can participate, it will be difficult to mobilise volunteers.”
Responding to the concerns, Mohammed Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction said he would urge the Deputy Commissioners to once again issue orders so other department officials co-operated. When asked if the daily allowance of Rs. 50 for volunteers could be increased, Mr. Mohsin said the department could not exceed the budget set for the survey.
The OOSC survey has been made more elaborate this year after the High Court took up the case suo motu and directed the State to ensure that there are zero dropouts. The survey aims to capture the exact number of dropouts in the State as there has been discrepancy in the figures, while the Education Department data states that there are 51,994 OOSC, activists claim that the figure is 6.28 lakh.