There has been a drastic increase in the number of school dropouts in Udupi district in the last one year.
According to the information provided by the Department of Public Instruction here, the number of school dropouts in the district was 86 in 2011-12, 123 in 2012-13 and 372 in 2013-14. As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, children between the ages of 6 to 14 have to be compulsorily admitted to schools.
The drive to admit out-of-school children in schools is taken up under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). But a survey of schools conducted in November 2013 showed that 997 students had dropped out. As many as 435 students had left their schools mid-way without even taking their Transfer Certificates, while 190 children had crossed 14 years and were deleted from the dropouts list.
Finally, as many as 101 children remained in the list of dropouts for 2013-14 and were yet to be traced and re-enrolled. Hence the target of the SSA for re-enrolment for 2014-15 is 372. The Range Education Coordinators have managed to re-enrol 271 dropouts for the present academic year 2014-15.Survey change
Under the RTE norms, if a child is absent for seven days continuously except for medical conditions, he/she was treated as a dropout. P. Nagaraj, Deputy Project Coordinator of SSA, said the change in the method of survey was one of the reasons for a rise in the number of dropouts. “Earlier, we used to do household survey of dropouts. But now we do a school-wise survey, which gives us more details of the dropouts,” he said.
Usually the children of migrant workers from districts of North Karnataka dropped out as their parents returned to their home districts. The department was using a software which helped in checking if the students who had dropped out here had joined schools in other places in the State. The names of students who had dropped out of schools and those joining schools were entered in the software. The software had five parameters such as name of student, father’s name, date of birth, class and religion/caste, which helped in tracing the students.
Mr. Nagaraj said very few students dropped out till they were 10 years old. The dropouts normally increased once the children were 12 to 14 years old. The reasons were lack of awareness on the importance of education among parents and their desire to get additional hands to financially support the family.