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Updated: February 23, 2014 13:22 IST

What’s this ‘other’ reason for out-of-school children in Karnataka?

Tanu Kulkarni
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H.R. Umesh Aradhya, chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said there was a need for the Education Department to read in between the figures.

Even as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has found that 1.7 lakh children are out of school in Karnataka, Education Department officials are yet to get clarity on why children drop out of school in nearly half of these cases.

In the data sheet, the reason for dropping out in 47.70 per cent of cases (which accounted for 81,351 children) has been categorised as “other.” SSA officials have decided to examine this and see what exactly these “other” reasons are so that they can frame suitable policies.

An official, who attended the meeting to chalk out policies to mainstream the children, said further break-up of the “other” category would be provided in about a week. While “migration” has been the reason for 29,491 children (17.29 per cent) to be out of school, the other common causes are “involvement in household work” (27,808 students or 16.30 per cent), “engaged in other work” (9,488 or 5.56 per cent) and “school far away” (5,441 or 3.19 per cent).

Interestingly, some reasons have been gender specific and those including “marriage”, “puberty” and “other reasons related to girl child” have been calculated only for girls.

A larger number of boys are out of school because they had taken up jobs. As many as 2,873 girls and 6,615 boys are out of school as they are engaged in work.

H.R. Umesh Aradhya, chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said there was a need for the department to read in between the figures.

“A large number of children are out of school because of migration and 33.36 per cent of them are from five north Karnataka districts. A majority of people who migrate are construction and agricultural labourers,” he said.

Also, there is no clarity on the 1,904 children, who have been reported dead.

SSA officials said these children’s names were on the rolls on March 31, 2013, and they were reported dead when the survey was held in November.

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