The State government on Thursday told the High Court of Karnataka that 18,584 children have been tracked of the total 24,308 children, belonging to the age group of 6 to 14, who had either dropped out of school or never enrolled.
Of the 18,584 children, 14,871 had been admitted to schools as on August 1, 2022, according to a status report submitted before a Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty.
Senior advocate and amicus curiae K.N. Phaneendra, in his status report, pointed out that officials of various departments were making efforts to track the remaining 5,724 children to ensure that they are brought back to the school in compliance with the mandate of the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
A survey of children aged between 0 and 18, conducted by the local authorities in Karnataka, had found that 10.12 lakh children aged 0 to 16, including 9.87 lakh in the age group of 0-6, had not enrolled in anganwadis/schools.
The survey also found that 14,963 children in the age group of 6 to 14 had dropped out and 9,345 children had never enrolled. It had identified a total of 66,68,262 children in the age group of 0 to 18 in the State.
The amicus cuiae also said that the Chief Secretary, who presided over the meeting of a high-powered committee overseeing the issue of out-of-school children, had instructed the officials to take immediate steps to ensure that 5,33,206 children in the age group of 3 to 6 identified in the survey enrol in an anganwadi.
It was informed in the meeting that take-home ration was being provided to the parents of 4,54,238 children in the age group of 0-3 as these children are not enrolled in anganwadis.
The court has been monitoring the issue of out-of-school children since 2013 by suo motu initiating a PIL petition. Further hearing on the petition has been adjourned till November.