Chennai

Focus on dropouts: Shanta Sinha

Shantha Sinha, Chair Person, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. File photo

Shantha Sinha, Chair Person, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. File photo  

Tamil Nadu has one of the highest enrolment rates of children for the age group of six to 14 in the country. However, after 15 years there is high dropout.

One of the issues that needs to be focussed on in the State, is the dropouts in school, said Shanta Sinha, chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. School students usually drop out when they move from Class XI to X, and similarly, from Class XI to XII. Talking about the incident where students in Tirunelveli were denied hall tickets, she said, “This is a classic reason for drop-outs at this age.”

Meeting held

The issue formed one of the primary concerns at a meeting Ms. Sinha held with Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi, as wells as officials of the education department on Wednesday.



‘Look at all schools'



“This complaint was dealt with well by authorities in that particular school in Tirunelveli. Rather than treating it as a one-off incident, it is important to look at other schools too. For this, the authorities need to take a count of the number of students promoted to Class X or XII and compare it with the number of students finally writing the examination,” she said.

Substantiating the high dropout rate Satish Kumar, chief of field office, United Nations Children's Fund said, “Tamil Nadu has one of the highest enrolment rates of children for the age group of six to 14 in the country, with more than 95 per cent of the children being enrolled in schools.

However, after 15 years there is high dropout. The enrolment rate reduces to 58 per cent among boys and 46 per cent among girls in schools.” He was speaking at a workshop for children organised by the Forum for Promotion of Child Participation on Wednesday.

Public hearings

Ms. Sinha suggested that the officials conduct monthly public hearings in every district, headed by the district collector and include representatives from all departments that are involved in the implementation of the various clauses of the Right to Education Act.

“To begin with, these meetings should be held at the block-level with the Block Development Officer heading the meeting. This should culminate into review meetings at the district levels,” she said.

Protocol vital

The prevalence of corporal punishments and child sexual abuse in schools was also highlighted.

The need for a child-friendly mechanism to make complaints was emphasised. “The process of justice should ensure that the child is not “re-victimised.”

The child should not have to visit the police station to lodge a complaint. Instead, the education department should develop a protocol.

A facilitator should be appointed for children to lodge their complaint,” she added.

At the Forum, attended by children from 19 districts in the State, children emphasised the need to have child representatives in various decision-making bodies and organisations such as the School Management Committees and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:45:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/focus-on-dropouts-shanta-sinha/article3453176.ece

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