A total of 3,282 children in the age group of 5 to 16 years in Chennai District have been found to be out of school, according to a recent study done by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) wing of the School Education Department. Male children constitute a major chunk of that number with 2,046 of them out of school.
A total of 1,166 habitations in the city were covered in the survey. While a majority of students, as many as 1,491, pointed to lack of interest in going to school as reason for dropping out, 251 children in the city said they dropped out of school because of difficulty in learning.
Some of the other reasons cited include child labour, lack of guidance and awareness, sibling care, natural calamity and the need to be an additional earning member of the family. The category of ‘out of school children' includes dropouts and children from migrant families here in search of jobs. The mother tongue of 3,007 children is Tamil. A total of 113 children speak Urdu and 106 have Telugu as their mother tongue.
With regard to dropouts, at least 2,796 of the children have dropped out of school in the city. This includes 1,050 students of Chennai Schools. As many as 427 children, the highest in an age group, have dropped out at the age of 12.
A total of 418 children, the highest in a class, have dropped out while they were in Class III. Some children drop out soon after joining school, the study has observed. As many as 367 children were found to have dropped out in class I.
As many as 2,272 of the children out of school belong to Scheduled Caste, 593 Backward Caste, 368 Most Backward Caste and 35 Scheduled Tribe.
Areas such as Periamet, Triplicane, George Town and Egmore had relatively higher concentration of dropouts, said an official of SSA.
Special training centres would be set up shortly to help the children join the school next year, said the official.