Contrary to Education Department’s claim that only 51,994 students aged between 6 and 14 are out of school in the State at present, an analysis submitted to the Karnataka High Court on Thursday points out that 6,28,047 students in this age group are out of school.
Analysis done by social activist Kathyayini Chamaraj, who has been permitted by the court to intervene in a public interest litigation petition suo motu initiated by it on the issue of the out-of-school children, has demonstrated this aspect by analysing the figures of students enrolled and continuing in various classes as provided by the Education Department.
Ms. Kathyayini has said that 78,76,110 students have been admitted to first standard from 2005-06 to 2011-12. In 2012-13, all these children should be in second to eighth standard.
“As per the government’s figures, there were only 72,48,063 children studying from second to eighth standard in 2012-13. Hence, there are 6,28,047 children who have either dropped out, or are missing, after enrolment in the last seven years,” the analysis pointed out. “This works out to about 8 per cent of the children who are out of school at any given time. However, the official dropout rates are far lower due to the unscientific manner in which it is calculated by the Education Department. Thus, the figure stated by the Education Department does not match at all with the actual number of children who have dropped out of school as per the statistics maintained by the department,” claimed Ms. Chamaraj.
After going through the analysis of figures, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna asked the State government to study the analysis while pointing out that it will be a serious issue if what has been pointed out in the analysis is true.
“What has been pointed out in the analysis may or may not be correct. You [government] study this aspect and file your response…”, the Bench observed while adjourning hearing till July 4.
Aditya Sondhi, court-appointed amicus curiae, said a panel should be formed comprising officials of the Education Department, local authority representatives, social activist and educationist to oversee the implementation of certain provisions of the RTE Act. The committee should monitor admissions to schools under the RTE Act, incentives given to private schools, and prevent discrimination of children admitted under the Act.