A door-to-door survey of school dropouts and those children who are out of school will start this week in Chennai.

According to officials of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, over 250 slum habitations in the city would be the focus of the survey. Apart from that, students who had dropped out of over 750 schools, including Corporation schools, Adi Dravida Welfare schools, government schools and government-aided schools in the city would also be identified.

The earlier method of collecting data on dropouts in the city involved the compilation of data provided by the principals of schools. “Now, we will focus on door-to-door verification, as principals of most of the schools tend to provide misleading data on student dropouts in their schools,” said an official of SSA.

Tracking the dropouts and mainstreaming them is the biggest challenge, the official added.

Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni said that the civic body was yet to have a comprehensive data on the dropouts from its schools.

A sample survey conducted in George Town last year found 550 children to be out of school.

Based on the data compiled from the school attendance registers last year, the number of school dropouts was 4,039 in Chennai, said an official.

The new survey would give the actual picture of the dropouts and students who are out of school, the official added. “I want to become a doctor. I have understood the importance of going to school,” said S.Sivakami, a Corporation school dropout who has been traced by officials of SSA recently.

Hundreds of students like her are in need of proper intervention, said the official.

Based on the findings of the survey, the Chennai Corporation and other agencies would decide on the strategy to reduce the dropout rate and measures to bring more children to school.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012