‘Govt. must track homeschooled children to prevent dropouts’

Sree Raksha Priya Ram has opted to homeschool her son Vibhu, in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K.

The government-appointed committee that was formed to discuss various issues, including reopening of schools, has raised an alert on the increasing number of parents pulling their children out of school with the intention of homeschooling them. To prevent a rise in dropouts, it has suggested that parents register their children at the government school closest to their residence.

The committee, in its interim report submitted to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), recommended the measure so that officials can track the students. It suggested that students be provided a unique ID on the School Achievement Tracking System so that they can be monitored. This system should be put in place for students in government and private schools.

Parents who had enrolled their children in top private schools too have decided to opt for homeschooling. Preethi S., who pulled her son out of a CBSE-affiliated school, said: “My son is seven years old and online classes do not work for him. Last year, there was no improvement in his learning curve, which is why I have decided to teach him myself.”

To do this, she will work only part-time. “I will send him back to school next academic year on if COVID-19 is under control and schools resume physical classes.”

Gowthami Saraf, a parent who homeschooled her daughter and son and started a community, Bangalore Homeschooling Champions, said in the past, she would receive enquiries from one or two parents every week. Now, she gets 15 inquiries a week. “Parents find that online classes have not been very effective. At the same time, they have apprehensions and want to know how I juggled between my children’s academics, work, and home,” she said.

Private tutoring

Some parents have roped in private tutors as they do not have adequate time to teach their children. The tutors who come home are paid by the hour and their charges range from ₹200 to ₹350 an hour. On an average, tutors spend anywhere between 10 and 15 hours a week with students. In many instances, private school teachers, who are struggling with pay cuts, have taken up part-time jobs as tutors.

However, homeschooling is only successful if a parent or tutor gives the child the attention he or she needs. “More often than not, parents are pulling children out of school as they are unable to afford the fees. Students are left to themselves and do not learn anything,” said Mullahalli Suri, president of Parents’ Association, and added that there was a need for urgent intervention of the State government to address this problem.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 12:33:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-must-track-homeschooled-children-to-prevent-dropouts/article35714717.ece

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