There is not a single child out of primary school in Mangalore as of 2011, said officials implementing the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in the city.
However, this does not apply to children from migrant families, said Dayananda Patali, Co-ordinating Officer, SSA, Mangalore city. He was speaking at a press meet held here recently.
In 2010, 34 children in Mangalore city did not go to school and 36 had dropped out, taking the number of children out of school to 70. In 2011, 42 children were brought back to school and the remaining had left Mangalore, he said.
The SSA's projects were being implemented in 33 schools, including four primary schools, one minorities school, and a residential school. Over 36,000 children study in these schools.
Members of a Joint Review Mission (JRM) of the Centre and the State were happy with the progress of children under the ‘Nali Kali' programme. They visited the Government Higher Secondary School, Mullakaadu, and the Government Urdu Higher Primary School, Bunder, Mr. Patali said.
There were schools where children of classes 1, 2 and 3 studied together in the same classroom under the SSA scheme. Some parents were unhappy because they thought that their child did not progress from one class to another.
Mr. Patali said that according to the Block Education Officer (BEO) and officials from the District Institute of Education and Training, it was a good strategy as the children learnt more than what they could learn in separate classes. Besides, the children themselves were clear which standard they were in, he said. In Mangalore city, 65 teachers were part of the programme.
The SSA scheme, which began in 2001, covered children in the age group of six to 14 with free compulsory primary education.
There were 1,374 children with special needs in the schools that were part of the abhiyan, including 44 children who were taught at home. Sixteen children from the home-based education system were brought into mainstream education in 2010-11. The children, aged between 6 and 14, were taught life skills by volunteers at home, said Irene Pinto, integrated education teacher.
Seventeen children from migrant families had been attending the tent school set up at the Government Higher Secondary School, Kodikal. All children in government schools got free uniforms and textbooks.