ANDHRA PRADESH

School remains a distant dream for thousands of children

UNFORTUNATE: While efforts to enrol ‘out of school' children under educational schemes of the Rajiv Vidya Mission are being undertaken, thousands are still left with no primary education. Photo: G. Ramakrishna

UNFORTUNATE: While efforts to enrol ‘out of school' children under educational schemes of the Rajiv Vidya Mission are being undertaken, thousands are still left with no primary education. Photo: G. Ramakrishna  

Around 70,000 from in and around the city are deprived of their fundamental right to formal education

Neither 14-year-old Shanti nor her six siblings have ever known what it is like to be in a school. For them, the idea of a school seems extraordinary, even surreal. “I have always wanted to wear a school uniform. But my father is no more and mother cannot work. So, we have to work,” said Shanti, who works as a labourer at a construction site in Gopanpally.

Back from work, she was ready to act upon domestic chores. It seemed as if she had no idea how young or frail she was. Shanti is only one of the unfortunate 70,000 children from in and around the city who are deprived of their fundamental right to formal education.

While efforts to enrol ‘out of school' children under several educational schemes of the Rajiv Vidya Mission (RVM) are being undertaken, a sizeable number are still left with no education. “Of about 50,000 out of school children in Hyderabad district, merely 6,000 children have been enrolled under several education schemes. Over 40,000 children are deprived of any education due to socio-economic reasons. Our efforts are directed towards mobilising these children,” said V Madhusudan, State coordinator, Sarva Siksha Abhiya (SSA).

In Madrasas

That apart, over 16,500 children in the district are studying in Madrasas whose education is not recognised by the State. While 38,000 children in several Madrasas are being supported by RVM, officials said that other Madrasas are reluctant to introduce formal education.

In Ranga Reddy district, a recently conducted survey points out that over half, i.e. 5,554 of the 10,480 out of school children are untouched by the alternative education schemes of RVM like residential and non-residential special training centres for deprived children.

Also, a ‘rapid household survey' conducted in the district, puts the number of children never enrolled at 600. This figure, however, omits all urban deprived people who are central to the survey such as slum-dwellers and rag-pickers.

No tracking system

Officials have also admitted that there is no tracking system in place to monitor if the enrolled children even attend school. After monitoring attendance for two or three months, the mechanism relied upon are efforts of teachers and volunteers of educational schemes in ensuring that the children do not drop out.

“While children are almost always ‘out of school' due to migratory and socio-cultural reasons, a tracking system to check the rate of school dropouts is extremely essential. With no such system, we don't know if enrolled children are attending classes,” confessed an RVM official.

When contacted, officials said that a web-based child tracking system is being contemplated.

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